Singer/songwriter Fiona Apple is back, releasing her first album in nearly eight years on digital platforms on Thursday. Titled Fetch the Bolt Cutters, the work is Apple’s fifth official studio album — not counting the bootleg release of 2005’s Extraordinary Machine — and follows 2012’s The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. The new music was released via the Sony Music subsidiary Epic Records.
According to The New Yorker, Apple began to conceptualize the album shortly after the release of The Idler Wheel. In 2015, she started to record the album with longtime collaborators Sebastian Steinberg, the bassist for Soul Coughing, guitarist David Garza, and drummer Amy Aileen Wood. The album’s title was inspired by a scene from the British-Irish crime drama The Fall, which stars Gillian Anderson as an investigative officer on the trail of a serial killer in Belfast.
The early reviews for Fetch the Bolt Cutters lead one to believe that the new album has already earned a place among Apple’s seminal works. It currently holds a Metascore of 100, indicating universal praise from critics, and a user score of 9.5 out of 10, per the review aggregation site Metacritic. Consequence of Sound opined that Apple has unlocked “her most challenging, raw and liberating listen to date,” going on to state that the album is especially well-timed given the rise of self-quarantine in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“‘Bolt Cutters’ delivers a much-needed auditory exercise for the sequestered masses and surely one of the best albums to grace us in 2020. Eight long years later, Fiona Apple proves her return was worth every second in waiting.”
Apple — who is known for the poetry in her lyrics, her aggressive piano style, and soulful, occasionally wild vocals — first came into the public consciousness as a teenager with the release of her debut album, Tidal, which had been primarily written when Apple was just 17. The triple-platinum album reached No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Heatseekers chart, and its single, “Criminal,” accomplished the same ranking on the Adult Alternative chart. The song also netted Apple a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance in 1998, cementing her status as a music industry icon.
More recently, Apple collaborated with Mikaela Straus, also known as King Princess, on a version of the 1999 song “I Know.” That track was released for Spotify’s RISE program on January 25 of this year.