Fiona Apple is a singer-songwriter best known for her music released in the late 1990’s and mid 2000’s. “Fetch The Bolt Cutters” is Apple’s first album in eight years. It was released months early because Apple wanted the album out during quarantine instead of after. Her decision to put “Fetch The Bolt Cutters” out early paid off.
I’ll be honest, I absolutely hated this album at first. However, it was recommended to me for Bops & Flops, and critics have been raving non stop about it. After giving it a second chance and fully listening to the lyrics, I understand the hype. Apple threw out the musical rulebook when she made “Fetch The Bolt Cutters”, and that’s why it sounds so beautifully strange.
Every sonicl aspect of this album is just downright odd. Much of this can be attributed to Apple using just about anything as a musical instrument. “Fetch The Bolt Cutters” features stomping, clapping, other forms of makeshift percussion, and even dogs barking. But perhaps the most unusual and powerful musical tool at Apple’s disposal is her lyricism. As Apple’s career has progressed, she has seemed to try to fit as many words in a song as possible instead of going through the refining process that most established artists do. Through “Fetch The Bolt Cutters”, Apple tells hyper specific yet relatable stories, which is a skill most artists do not possess.
Intense songs with loaded meanings like “Newspaper” can make “Fetch The Bolt Cutters” a bit of a tough listen, but the album regains its balance with humorous songs like “Rack of His”. “Rack of His” is a comedic take on getting played by a male musician, so it’s a bit of a cathartic listen for those of us who are into men. Conversely, “Newspaper” tells the story of a rape victim who watches from a distance as her rapist abuses a new woman. The song is profound and specific. “Newspaper” expresses a closeness to the rapist’s newest victim even though they’ve never met. I tried to choose a few standout lyrics to include in this review, but I couldn’t. Apple’s lyricism in this song requires the listener to take all of the words at once; they cannot be picked out of the song without taking away some of their meaning. An extremely unique aspect to Apple’s album is that it includes a land dedication to indigenous tribes. On the back of the album’s cover, beneath the tracklist, it reads “Made on unceded Tongva, Mescalero Apache, and Suma territories.” This was a deliberate move to call attention to the fact that we live our lives unknowingly on land that was never ours to take. “Fetch The Bolt Cutters” has been praised as the album we desperately needed to survive quarantine. I’m not so sure about that assertion since it’s definitely not for everyone, but I do think this album deserves every bit of worldwide acclaim it’s receiving.
Many people might know Victoria Monét as Ariana Grande’s friend, but Monét is a standout in her own right. In Monét’s discography, “Dive”’s sound is unique. The sexy vibe and beautiful vocals make “Dive” recognizable as a Victoria Monét song, but the single is definitely new territory for the R&B artist. “Dive” is the second single from Monét in 2020, and both songs have proven to be extremely promising.
Monét has been behind some extremely successful music projects (ahem, she co-wrote half of Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” album), but “Dive” has me beyond excited for more solo music.
If this 1980’s esque bop doesn’t make you get up and dance, I’m not sure what will. The 1975 is notorious for having sad or just plain weird lyrics set to upbeat and cheery music, and “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)” is no exception to this. Lyrically, “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)” is about an odd and confusing sexual relationship that the singer is having with a mysterious woman that he only sees online. But sonically, this song could easily be used in a teen romcom. The single even features a saxophone solo, so I’m not sure what more I could ask for.
This is the seventh song released from The 1975’s upcoming album “Notes on a Conditional Form”. The album has been postponed multiple times, and the album’s cover has been changed multiple times as well. No matter when it comes out or what the album cover looks like, I’m excited to listen to the album in its entirety.
If you’re in search of a new love song to put you in your feels, look no further. “Renee’s Song” is comprised of three elements: a boy in love, an acoustic guitar, and angelic harmonies. Bazzi released “Renee’s Song” on his and his girlfriend’s two year dating anniversary, and obviously, the song is all about his love for her. Quite frankly, Bazzi is raising the bar for boyfriends everywhere with this release. Last month’s single “Young & Alive” and “Renee’s Song” are the latest samples from Bazzi’s upcoming second album, which has yet to be named.
When I saw that there was a new Twenty One Pilots song, I fully expected it to be a flop. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Tyler Joseph, one half of Twenty One Pilots, said in a radio interview that “Level of Concern” has two major influences: his mom and his wife. When Joseph was talking to his mom on the phone, she apparently said that she wished there would be a new upbeat song to distract from all the craziness going on right now. Joseph definitely delivered.
The lyrics of “Level of Concern” blend the anxiety surrounding COVID-19 and experiences Joseph had with his wife in the beginning stages of their relationship. Lyrics that clearly reference COVID-19 include “wonderin’, would you be, my little quarantine?”. The main reason this song is not a flop is that the song is sung all the way though, and there’s none of the terrible emo rap that Twenty One Pilots is so famous for. “Level of Concern” is Twenty One Pilots’ first release since 2018, and it is a standalone.
This song is the definition of “too much”. Quite frankly both Sam Smith and Demi Lovato’s voices tend to give me a headache, so I didn’t expect much going into “I’m Ready”. But I gave it the benefit of the doubt, and I was disappointed. This single could not decide if it wanted to be a sultry, bass heavy song or a bright, inspirational ballad. There are also disco elements and beat drop set ups that don’t ever come to fruition, so that isn’t fun to listen to for obvious reasons. There are too many ideas in “I’m Ready”, and the artists’ distinct vocal styles clash instead of complimenting each other.