A magnificent meltdown from a songwriter who describes herself as “a tulip in a cup”: catastrophic states of mind translated into unnervingly perky tunes and precisely turned phrases, polished until they gleam, then stripped to a skeleton, then polished again. The Idler Wheel is a very, very raw album, musically and emotionally — it’s little more than Apple’s voice and piano and Charley Drayton’s percussion, and it opens with a ditty about panic attacks — but it’s also wry, playful and self-aware, and Apple’s voice sparkles in the unforgiving light of its arrangements.
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Top 10 Albums
- 10. Killer Mike, R.A.P. Music
- 9. Azealia Banks, 1991 EP
- 8. The Mountain Goats, Transcendental Youth
- 7. Various Artists, Listen, Whitey! The Sounds of Black Power 1967–74
- 6. Swans, The Seer
- 5. Getatchew Mekuria & the Ex & Friends, Y’Anbessaw Tezeta
- 4. Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan
- 3. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
- 2. Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d city
- 1. Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do