The Idler Wheel by Fiona Apple

Raw, unsettling, at times both humorous and brutal, and honest, Fiona Apple’s fourth album, “The Idler Wheel,” is as reckless as it is enchanting.

To describe such a work is an interesting task. It’s a blend of pop, jazz, alternative rock, piano – so many subtle and indistinguishable elements that one could say it sounds like everything.

Apple’s voice here is the same as on her previous albums. As a master violinist plays his instrument, and an artist uses lush brushstrokes, Fiona Apple uses her voice. At times it is a dry whisper floating over tepid piano. It can crackle, it can howl, it can lurch like a jaguar in jagged brilliance as it strikes its desperate prey. Undulating dark serenades crescendo under background ripples. It can be clear as glass, only to shatter and break into melting pieces that push to a climax then collapse.

The single “Every Single Night” is a breathless, choking dream ballad that begins the album. “Hot Knife” is a rhythmic thriller, a startling end to an exciting album including meticulous metaphors and lyrics such as “He excites me/must be like the genesis of rhythm,” which fit intricately within the spaces of the piano and the deep, resounding drums.

Fiona Apple’s newest album is a great altrnative to other pop artists.

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