Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fiona Apple / Extraordinary Machine / Rating 7.8 / 6.2

Here are ther first two paragraphs of the PFM review:

"If you're particularly web savvy, you may have seen the previous version of this review up on the site before its replacement with the edition you're reading right now. Here's the story: I crafted the original to be my most ambitious yet-- epic in scope, embellished with the richest prose I could possibly summon. But alas, the powers that be were not, as they say, feeling it, and sent me back to the drawing board to craft a review less eccentric and more crowd-friendly. Or actually, maybe I had second thoughts about the original review myself, choosing to self-regulate and take a mulligan. I don't know, it's very confusing; but know that all this vacillation was never for publicity's sake, no, never that.

So I can empathize with Fiona Apple, who has gone through a similarly arduous journey on the road to releasing her first album in six years. Earlier this year, Extraordinary Machine appeared destined for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot status, as the nearly-finished album Apple made with longtime collaborator Jon Brion was shelved, then surreptitiously leaked to the world's music thieves. But rather than graciously accepting a starring role in Fuck the Man Rock N' Roll Myth #67, Apple willingly did a do-over, this time working with Mike Elizondo, best known as right-hand man to the good Dr. Dre. "

The above paragraphs loosely imply that Miss Apple had her record shelved by the man AKA her big bad record label but in fact this is not the case. I can’t tell exactly if the "R and R myth" comment is an attempt to call out this widely believed false gossip but as posted in the Rolling Stone interview, it was not the label's decision at all.

I suspect many music journalist will take the same route as PFM and compare / contrast the two version so the logical question to ask next is this: Had the first version never been leaked would the new reviews be kinder and the ratings higher?

There are two lesson to learn here.
A: When you assume you make an ass out of u and me. ( I know this quote comes from a million places but I am proud to say I learned it from the TV show the Odd Couple as a kid)
B) When recording a record do whatever it takes to prevent the unfinished rough cuts from seeing daylight unless you want a fabulous press story to keep you in the news between those half a decade span of years between your releases.*

* I am not saying F.A. did this or her label premediatated this leak as a press stunt but God knows that rumor is out there too.

ps: What's the Bjork font from Vespertine doing on the cover of Extraodinary Machine?