Sounds of Silence

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After a six-year sabbatical from celebrity, Fiona Apple is set to release her fourth album this spring…we think

Just three albums into a 15-year career, Fiona Apple has generated more silence than sound. True, all three of her major-label releases (Tidal, 1996, When the Pawn…, 2003, and Extraordinary Machine, 2005) were fascinating adventures in songwriting and produced healthy sales, generally positive reviews, and millions of nearlyfanatic devotees, but the 34-year-old native New Yorker seems to—in the end—find little use for the roil and rush of being known. Part of this might have been due to the well-publicized disputes between Apple and Sony when her third album was deemed by the label too idiosyncratic for release, and shelved for years after its submission in 2003. Fan protests, a goodly amount of spleen-venting in the press, and a partly-compromised result (according to Apple) seem to have given the waifish and famously fragile singer-songwriter her fill, and during an astonishing six years, she left the city for the West Coast and retreated into a private and noticeably quiet space, emerging only to do the occasional (and usually unexpected) public appearance, most often as an accompaniment to another performer. How and why anyone moves from New York to Los Angeles in order to disappear remains a fascinating and as yet unanswered question.

This spring, that all changes…sort of. Amidst rumors surrounding a supposedly finished (but as yet untitled) fourth album punctuated by a tweet in early February from Epic Records chairman LA Reid that the work will “absolutely” be released this year, Apple announced a brief tour, kicked off by an appearance at South by Southwest in Austin on March 17. Of the seven performance dates, a happy three are either going to be in the city or New Jersey, and a substantial amount of new tunes is anticipated at the shows. Apple herself has been characteristically mum on the subject, and as if to accentuate the quiet, her website lists only tour dates and contains no news, statements, or relevant information of any other kind.

In any event , for those of us starved for Apple’s brand of at once winsome and inspiring songwriting, it will be an oasis after a long, dry march.

Illustrator Kevin Stanton


Fiona Apple
March 23 – Brooklyn, Music
Hall of Williamsburg
March 24 – Atlantic City
Borgata Spa & Resort
March 26 – Manhattan,
Bowery Ballroom
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