Okay so, I took a vacation. What are ya gonna do.

But I’m back. Given that I’m at college again, I’ll have plenty of time in front of laptop for a blog update each day when I should be doing something else.

This song has been stuck in my head lately. I listened to the record the other day for the first time probably since it came out in 2005. I thought it was great back then, but now it just makes more sense:

“Those boon times went bust
My feet of clay, they dried to dust
The red isn’t the red we painted
It’s just rust
And the signature thing
That used to bring a following
I have trouble now
Even remembering

So why did I kiss him so hard
Late last Friday night
And keep on letting him change all my plans
I’m either so sick in the head
I need to be bled dry to quit

Or I just really used to love him
I sure hope thats it

I knew that to keep in touch
Would do me deep in dutch
Cuz it isn’t the rush of remembering
Its just mush
And the signature thing
Is only growing harrowing
I should have no trouble now
To keep from following

So why did I kiss him so hard
Late last Friday night
And keep on letting him change all my plans
I’m either so sick in the head
I need to be bled dry, to quit
Or I just really used to love him
I sure hope thats it

Those boon times went bust
My feet of clay, they dried to dust
The red isn’t the red we painted
Its just rust
And the signature thing
That used to bring a following
I have trouble now
Even remembering

So why did I kiss him so hard
Late last Friday night
And keep on letting him change all my plans
I’m either so sick in the head
I need to be bled dry, to quit
Or I just really used to love him
Or I just really used to love him
Or I just really used to love him
I sure hope that’s it”

–Fiona Apple, Tymps (The Sick in The Head Song)
Extraordinary Machine

Maybe I just have a better appreciation for songwriting than I did back then (which may be true), maybe I just have more elaborate tastes (also possible). But Fiona Apple made a really cool album when she wrote “Extraordinary Machine.”

There’s something theatrical about it. The instrumentation is weird and Radiohead-esuqe at times, her voice is mature and jazzy, and her songwriting is as stream-of-consciousness narrative as ever. Powerful choruses (see “Window” or the above, “Tymps.”) and I love a good chorus as much as the next headphone-aholic. She’s great at building tension, and resolving it.

“Please Please Please” is a great song, a kind of sociopath anthem that puts you in a good mood. For that alone I respect Fiona Apple, for letting her songwriting say something about people and how they work. I love that line…”But everybody’s on the same sad team/and you can hear our sad brains screaming”

Her analysis of emotions in her songwriting is impressive–the metaphors and observations she makes are intimate enough they feel personal, but pretty universal. it’s not just like “i’m sad/life sucks/i hope i get hit/by a pick up truck” or whatever other bullshit we’re hearing these days. Her ballads feel like 21st century jazz standards (read: awesome). Example:

And it’s dangerous work
Trying to get to you too
And I think if I didn’t have to
Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill myself doing it
Maybe I wouldn’t think so much of you

-Red Red Red

Good stuff.