It has been eight years since her last project, but Fiona Apple is back with a new album titled, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters.” With this new album comes a revolution in the way Apple chooses to frame pain and passion, themeing the album around resilience despite the forces that may hold her back. In a social climate in which perseverance is required, this album resonated with many and even earned itself a perfect rating from Pitchfork, a score which hasn’t been achieved since Kanye West’s “Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”
Apple has been known for her moody projects, paving the way for future pop artists to explore their deepest emotions, and be revered for making sad but honest music. Since Apple, artists like Lana Del Rey, Frank Ocean and Billie Eilish have utilized similar inspirations, becoming known for their catalogues of music to cry to. While Apple may have been a pioneer, she is changing course on “Fetch the Bolt Cutters,” an album that recognizes life’s trauma as feats to overcome, which she has.
The title of the album sets the stage for the tracks to come, with its origin being a reference to a line spoken by Gillian Anderson in the British police procedural “The Fall,” a line conveying a woman’s ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable pain. The metaphorical bolt cutters serve to free Apple of the “chains” in life that hold her down.
In “Fetch the Bolt Cutters,” Apple is more candid than ever, calling out those who have wronged her and the wrongs they committed in explicit language. Apple calls out assault, gendered expectations, toxic masculinity and many other building blocks of the patriarchy by claiming her anger and frustrations without being weighed down by them.
The album is reckless in its production and lyricism, with each song at a word count that many familiar with today’s pop would find astronomical. And, when it comes to the instrumentals, the theme of self reliance continues with Apple utilizing her Venice Beach home to record the album, and featuring her makeshift percussion and array of ad libs. The album even features the occasional dog bark, which are all credited to the dog responsible.
Apple’s album attacks adversity by facing it head on and using those experiences to grow stronger. In its defiance, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” is an album for those who feel callus to the world around them, which for many hasn’t been an easy environment to succeed in. Apple teaches the lesson that understanding your pain is the first step in overcoming it, and despite everything, the heart is rather flexible, and life’s restraints are rather breakable.
Photo Source: NME