In an interview with National Public Radio, Grammy-winning singer Fiona Apple reveals the inspiration behind the name of her latest album. She was watching an episode of “The Fall”, a British television show in which a police detective (played by Gillian Anderson) tries to save a kidnapped girl. Upon encountering a padlock, Anderson mutters to “get the bolt cutters.” It’s a small disposable line, but Apple says she got up from her couch watching and decided it would be the name of her album.
Now, eight years after the release of Apple’s latest album, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” is on the lips of every music critic. Spending eight years without releasing an album is in a way an anomaly, all the more so since more musical sensations are born overnight and must compete to stay in the spotlight. But considering Apple’s career for decades – she was only 18 when her debut album “Tidal” sold 2.7 million copies and became triple platinum in the United States – eight years don’t seem too long, and the album was well worth the wait.
Much has changed in these eight years. The 42-year-old singer-songwriter, once the target of the press for his controversial frankness, now rarely leaves his home in Venice Beach. In a March 2020 article for The New Yorker, Apple discusses her decision to stop drinking and parting with old friends while working on “Fetch the Bolt Cutters”, which helped her focus on her and rekindle her past pains and experiences in a fiery album of war cries and ballads. For five years, Apple turned off the radio and collaborated only with his group, close friends and family to produce his most organic and raw album to date.
The closer album “On I Go” illustrates the earthy, almost tribal nature of the record. The song begins with clapping, beating, and clicking, and when Apple’s voice is heard, it does not sing until it sings at a steady rate. She sings to move forward – not “towards or far” from something, but just to move. Apple is tired of trying to change its reputation and prove itself to others. In a moment that captures this new state of mind, Apple disrupts the rhythm halfway through the song and curses briefly, but it continues.
Throughout the album, Apple uses repetition to emphasize its message without appearing monotonous. From wise metaphors (“Evil is a relay sport / When the one who burns / Turns to pass the torch” from “Relay”) to playful word games (“I would beg to disagree / But beg disagrees with me “from” Under the Table “”), Apple’s repeated words form an urgent impulse that propels the album forward rather than holding it back.
From the start, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” was unquestionably Apple: layered percussion, piano riffs and Apple’s clear, determined voice were what always distinguished his music. Yet “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” tells – and sometimes shouts – the story not only of one woman, but of all the women who have been unjustly restricted in their lives. In the title, Apple questions the unrealistic expectation of women to act in a certain way to please men or the press. After years of trying to fit in with the crowd, she realizes that it only makes them confined and unhappy. Now that she has regained her voice and perseverance, she will get out of the prison that was built around her and “run on this hill”, encouraging others to run free with her.
Apple also understands that women who support women can become disorderly. In “Newspaper”, the turbulent percussion reflects Apple’s contradictory feelings towards the new girlfriend of his emotionally violent ex. She is in love with the new girlfriend and feels close to her because of their common sufferings, but she knows that it is not what she is “supposed to do” in a society which constantly and ridiculously opposes women. to each other.
But if anything, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” is a compelling sign that Apple doesn’t care what it is “supposed to do,” and it wants other women to free themselves from this pressure as well. This is what makes her a pioneer and an iconic artist in the music industry, and it is what has allowed her to overcome trauma and continue to move forward in life. Now Apple is looking back with determination – with patience, bravery and sensitivity – to create an album that depicts pain in a way that does it justice. This is what Apple deserves, and all the women who have felt this pain.