I should’ve researched this more (read up; listen to albums), but I’m lazy. So the following is pretty much completely baseless... Over the last two years, a lot of people have spoken about Fiona Apple’s comeback and her relevance today, which she seems much more of now than when she successfully broke through in the 90’s (and she was legitimately big in the 90’s as a young, dark, twisted, edgy, but critically-acclaimed teenage music artist). It’s a nice comeback story, but I’m not quite sure what she’s coming back from—obscurity? A meltdown/performance art? I don't know... It may not be such a puzzle for those who’ve faithfully kept up with and followed Apple’s music career over the last decade and a half. If you look at her discographic chronology, she's actually had a pretty normal, perhaps even consistent music trajectory. Those who kept listening to Apple would know that after Tidal-- her most known work-- she released two more albums, one in 1999 and one in 2005 respectively. And by the looks of it (according to Wiki), both were decent, including being given a 4–star rating of Extraordinary Machine by Rolling Stone. These two albums were produced, released, and were quietly present way before she started garnering reemergence hype around the time of her fourth release in 2012, which is when buzzwords like “comeback” and “she’s not batshit anymore” were being thrown around. But she never left in the first place. Interestingly, Apple's mostly always been there. My ignorance is all over that last paragraph because I don’t listen to Fiona Apple. I bought Tidal when it came out because it was a phase, which was part of a bigger phase of being embarrassingly emo and angsty. I loved the album to death, but to be real here, it was appropriate theme music for when I felt “depressed”—proooobably by the onset of my period still trying to find its rhythm. And yeah, I guess Apple “deeply understood me” at the time (haha, oh my goodness was I ridiculous back then)… And then I “ghettoized” Tidal and Apple. I left them in the 90’s because bringing them into the 2000’s and onward felt like trying to make bellbottoms still happen in an era overrun by skinny jeans. To me and I think to most people, Apple’s comeback is from the 90’s, although, again, so many loyal fans of Apple were like, “Oh thank God she came out of a 7-year hiding!”-- –7! 7!? I was thinking more like 15. So THAT is what has been impressive to me: I believe she came back from a hiatus that was more popularly perceived as being over a decade long because her relevance started and peaked in the 90’s and she seemingly faded out after that— or at least, MTV and Spin stopped studying her so hard under the microscope as soon as her beautifully-weird-prodigy novelty wore off. Add that to the fact that Apple was able to break out of Alt 90's-- a music period that's so famously contained or maybe even imprisoned within itself*-- and reinvent herself with a sound that's "listenably" experimental . Anyone who attempts a prison break from the 90’s can’t do it** without being eaten alive—except for maybe Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails (who BARELY make it out), Beck, or Björk. We even sigh relief when we know that a "#1 90's Hits!" Songza playlist is just that and nothing more. No one reinvents or really builds on top of grunge music. Chris Cornell is sort of a piece of shit right now, Billy Corgan an even bigger one. I think we want Red Hot Chili Peppers to just stop already. I currently actually fear and loathe for Tori Amos's life. No Doubt+Bush? We 're forced to take that with us into today because this, HashtagForeverHaunted.
*--unlike the 80’s where a retro new wave revival sort of happened in the early to mid 2000’s and everyone all of a sudden wanted to sound like Joy Division/New Order and Depeche Mode
**I know Robyn did it and she pretty much had the same career trajectory as Apple's, but we're not talking about her or 90's Pop right now.
Fiona Apple is different. She's a lot less synonymous with the 90's these days-- you could almost say she's a new breakthrough artist today that never previously existed. And she's managed to stay current and fresh without a rebranding (I don't even know what P. Diddy's name is anymore. What are we calling him now?) Moreover, it’s also really awesome and worth noting that Apple, old or new, is having an effect on the new gen of young indie pop up-and-comers, like Banks and Sky Ferreira, who’ve both specifically cited Apple as an influence on their music, making the two look a liiiiiiiittle more autonomous and wise beyond their years (if they said Stevie Nicks, I would’ve waved them off. Because what cool mom or dad has “old Fiona Apple” records to rifle through and draw inspiration from? Exactly. Oh hay, Miley Cyrus, how's it going?) Even a mainstream artist who's more controlled by the machine, Katy Perry, is all about her (does that help or hurt her? I don't know). Who knew that, of all artists, Fiona Apple was going to stay current and transcend the self-contained 90's? Me writing this piece about her music cultural relevance and having this much to say about it is even blowing my mind this instant. And I barely know her. I leave you with this little ditty because it's still so good...