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The parents' guide to what's in this music.
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What's the story?
On EXTRAORDINARY MACHINE, her third CD (and the first in six years), Fiona Apple delivers quirky poetry in a multi-octave warble that ends up getting under your skin and staying there. Her lyrics, artsy and interesting, evoke moments more than they tell stories. She has an ear for language and engages in a sophisticated flirtation with word play. The album was produced by Mike Elizondo, who has also worked with Eminem, 50 Cent, and Dr. Dre. (Backstory: After a first version of the CD, produced by Jon Brion, leaked onto the Internet prerelease, Fiona re-recorded the CD with Elizondo as producer.)
Is it any good?
At once clever, angry, passionate, and playful, Fiona Apple ignores genre definition with intelligent songs that are all her own. Yes, the songs are self-indulgent and angst-ridden, but they are also musically unique as well as beautifully produced and performed (Apple plays piano in addition to providing enchanting lyrics and lead vocals), and follow their own rambling melodic paths. Fresh and brilliant, this work of art from Fiona Apple was well worth the wait.