Listen: Fiona Apple Returns with Great New Single “Every Single Night”

Slate's Culture Blog
April 23 2012 7:49 PM

Fiona Apple Returns with a Great New Single

109685503
Fiona Apple performs at a gala in Beverly Hills in 2011.

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

After almost seven years of silence, Fiona Apple returned today with the first single off her heavily anticipated new album The Idler Wheel. (Full title: The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do.) If you’ve been hungry for new material from the singer-songwriter, this wide-reaching song should have everything you’re looking for: With “Every Single Night,” Apple returns all at once in full force.

The lyrics may seem serene at first—but they soon turn angry and pained, with her expressive vocals matching an erratic tone familiar from tracks like Extraordinary Machine’s “Not About Love.” When Apple confesses “Every single night’s a fight with my brain,” you can hear the back-and-forth of the battle in her performance. By the time she reaches the centerpiece chant of “I just want to feel everything,” she sounds like a manic-depressive who refuses to give up the extreme range of her experience.

Advertisement

Though the lyrics may jump between extremes, the arrangement slips from mood to mood as nimbly as Apple’s vocals. The producer for “Every Single Night” doesn’t seem to have been officially announced, but the orchestrations have all the markings of longtime collaborator Jon Brion. The central riff sounds like it’s played on a music box, which matches both the ironic-lullaby lyrics and Apple’s tightly-wound tone. These more tranquil sections are laid on a bed of quietly brushed drums, but a variety of percussion comes alive with the piano of the chorus and bridge.

While Brion’s eccentric arrangements last time around caused quite a bit of controversy, leading to cries of “Free Fiona” from fans, it would be hard to argue with this recording. “Every Single Night” is the sound of a woman who will not be held back.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Learns That Breaking Up a Country Is Hard to Do

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 19 2014 12:33 PM The Precarious Predicament of Russia’s Neighbors
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 12:09 PM How Accelerators Have Changed Startup Funding
  Life
The Vault
Sept. 19 2014 12:08 PM The CIA Used to Have a Commute-by-Canoe Club. One Member’s Memories.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 12:10 PM Watch the Trailer for Big Eyes, a Tim Burton Movie About People With Normal-Sized Eyes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 11:40 AM Apple Invented the Perfect Way to Handle Your Giant New Phone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 12:13 PM The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola  The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.