Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fiona Apple is my preferred writing music, and THIS IS 40 is the Album of the Year that Wasn't

I whined, months ago, about the soundtrack album for *THIS IS 40,* which contains the only high-quality, legal version of the  Fiona Apple masterpiece "Dull Tool."



"Why should I have to buy the whole album to hear Fiona, why were the reviews so bad, where's my coffee," etc. Well.

Last week I gave in and bought it, not being a bootleg guy, and am here to report that the whole freaking thing is magnificent. I suspect that the poor (actually, split) reviews were a result of an attention-deficit problem among certain younger listeners, for whom this wasn't recorded anyway. Really a triumph for Jon Brion (producer) and, in no particular order, Paul Simon, Wilco, Graham Parker, Lindsey Buckingham, Norah Jones, Fiona, and (who knew?) Yoko Ono.

It is all superb, though it took me almost a year to figure that out. Among many splendors is a sparkling, long-forgotten instrumental from Paul McCartney's 1975 VENUS AND MARS that pairs up very nicely with the Ono piece, a charming retro entry a la "Honey Pie." And speaking of Beatles Connections (a favorite topic of mine), one might consider this fine album's BROTHER AND SISTER, to be the classic McCartneyesque response to Fiona's distinctly Lennon-ish "Dull Tool."  That is, for BROTHER AND SISTER: Optimism, possibility, world-wise humor vs., for DULL TOOL, Cynicism, guardedness, venom, aggression, and a profound mistrust of appearances.

 Anyway. The attached is Lindsey Buckingham and Norah Jones (what a duo!) performing what sounds like the other side of a double-a-side single that never was. Play it back to back with "Dull Tool" and see if you don't agree.