Tidal is the first album of Fiona Apple, a talented singer-songwriter who, following her debut, has released albums of critical and commercial acclaim.
This album whilst not her best remains one of my favourites for various reasons. To name a few: the intricacy of the lyrical content, the melodies – sonorous and sullen and genuinely heartfelt… (Admittedly, this isn’t so much a review as it is an ode to her brilliance.) In my opinion, Tidal, released in 1996, remains a true classic.
Her voice and the piano are the main components of this album, though her song-writing ability certainly stands out too. The opening song, ‘Sleep To Dream’ is filled with sharp bursts with anger as she exclaims, ‘I tell you how I feel, but you don’t care/I say tell me the truth, but you don’t dare/You say love is a hell you cannot bear/And I say gimme mine back and then go there, for all I care’.
‘Slow like honey’ is a little smoother – a little sultrier; in this, she sings with a perfect contralto, giving it a much jazzier feel. ‘Sullen Girl’ is, for lack of a better word, a surprise; while there’s experience, honesty and originality in all of her songs, this is definitely one of the rawest, and the saddest. It’s marked by its hauntingly beautiful piano, which eventually swells up to a near orchestral chorus before shrinking back down again to her voice only.
If you move onto her later albums, you’ll hear that while the both honesty and imagery remain, the sounds change. When The Pawn… is a little more mature, and is favoured by those who weren’t too impressed by her debut. Some fans have found her most recent album, The Idle Wheel…, a little more demanding. However, hailed as a ‘postmodern Billie Holliday’, I would say that she is always worth listening to.