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Album Review

Fiona Apple demonstrates considerable talent on her debut album, Tidal, but it is unformed, unfocused talent. Her voice is surprisingly rich and supple for a teenager, and her jazzy, sophisticated piano playing also belies her age. Given the right material, such talents could have flourished, but she has concentrated on her own compositions, which are nowhere near as impressive as her musicianship. Most of Tidal is comprised of confessional singer/songwriter material, and while they strive to say something deep and important, much of the lyrics settle for clichés. Apple does have a handful of impressive songs on Tidal, like the haunting "Shadowboxer" and "Sullen Girl," but the gap between her performing talents and songwriting skills is too large to make the album anything more than a promising, and very intriguing, debut.

Customer Reviews

ITunes Review is JACKED

iTunes' review of this album is completely jacked. Tidal was and still is a brilliant album and what makes it so are how raw the emotional energy is and how it contrasts to the delivery of the actual instruments chosen for each track. Live, Fiona Apple is a tiny little conduit of pure rock which isn't what you except. She doesn't mince her words as a lyricist and she certainly is anything but cliche in that respect. Fiona has a signature sound that is still very present on her later releases but like she said herself once, she won't release something that doesn't come from an honest place. Which explains the huge gaps of time between her albums and believe me, for what it's worth, those incubation periods are well worth the wait. 'Sleep To Dream', 'Criminal', 'Sullen Girl', 'Shadowboxer'... only skim the surface of the career she laid out before her.

Still love this album

I wasn't sure if I would still like this album after all these years of not listening to it, but it's just as good as I remember. The description from iTunes is a bit harsh. I'm sure with a pop star sized staff and budget they could have digitized and edited it to 'mainstream perfection', but that's not what this album is about. It's about raw talent and a young musician breaking out and wanting to be heard, not listened to. I love it.

A beautiful and haunting debut

Just to put things in perspective for a moment, Fiona was 18 years old when she wrote and recorded this album. Let's think about that for a moment. In a music world now filled with Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and Jonas' Brothers, Fiona's feat seems even more remarkable. It's taken me over a decade to fully appreciate how quietly spectacular this album is and how it hasn't aged a day since it was released. It's so rich and rewarding in fact that I really don't mind that Fiona has released as much material as her contemporaries.

I agree with other reviewers that the official Apple review needs to by rewritten, it's carelessly dismissive of this album.


Born: September 13, 1977 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Fiona Apple defied categorization or any easy career path, almost running the pattern in reverse, opening her career as a highly touted and popular alternative singer/songwriter, then transitioning into a cult artist. Apple certainly benefited from the open-door policy of modern rock in the mid-’90s, following the path of crossover alt-rock piano-based songwriters like Tori Amos, but Apple was hardly an Amos copycat: she had a strong jazz undertow in her vocal phrasing and melodies, she had richer...
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