The saga behind Fiona Apple’s third album, her first in six years, is as tricky as the show-tune meters of its verses. The original version, dense with swirling strings and cartoon cabaret atmosphere courtesy of Apple’s longtime producer Jon Brion, was supposedly held by Sony last year for lack of a single. One Internet leak later, it became a mini–cause célèbre, as fans picketed the label, demanding the album’s release. Then came accusations that Sony manufactured the entire controversy. But fans can rest easy: Recorded with Dr. Dre producer Mike Elizondo, the redone Extraordinary Machine is no travesty. Elizondo opens up the arrangements, surrounding Apple’s bold, rolling piano chords with brassy horn charts, spacious rhythms, and electronic coloring. She’s still singing about the kind of doomed, neurotic relationships familiar to any New Yorker, and through it all, her voice rings clearer and more confident than ever before—the sound of a singer in her prime.
Epic; October 4.
Fiona Apple: Drama Queen