Friday, November 21, 2014

SPIDERS: The New (Kind of) Fiona Apple Album on #Spotify

 SPIDERS

Click here, or on the photo above, to listen to SPIDERS -- the new (kind of) Fiona Apple album on Spotify.

Okay, okay. It's not really new. It's a playlist comprising all the Fiona singles and one-offs I could find that didn't show up on an album. I left out two painful collaborations with a moribund Johnny Cash that didn't do anything to respect his memory.

I share SPIDERS here because the playlist demands repeat listening. Ten superlative, glove-fitting covers show up like new best friends, and most of them don't sound at all like covers. I guess this magnetic collection's lack of new material makes this a concept album: Songs Fiona Didn't Write, but That Sound Like She Did.

It all hangs together, thanks to some classic, fortuitous Fiona themes that show up across the selections: fearlessness, imagination, innocence, yearning. (Compare Shawn Colvin's equally powerful COVER GIRL, which pulls a similar trick.)

I think of SPIDERS as a vinyl album with two sides. It's got everything: gentle rockabilly, smoldering blues, childlike wonder, spiritual yearning, torch songs, even a superb, unlikely country duo with the comedian Margaret Cho. Folks, there is not a weak track anywhere. Songwriters are listed in parentheses below.

Spiders are not scary unless you make them scary. I always think of bravery when I think of Fiona Apple.

SIDE ONE

Everyday (Buddy Holly)
Why Try to Change Me Now (Cy Coleman)
I'm in the Middle of a Riddle (Anton Karas)
I Walk a Little Faster (Cy Coleman, Caroline Leigh)
Pure Imagination (Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley -- yes, it's the song from WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY)

SIDE TWO

Frosty the Snowman (Walter "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson. Just in time for the holidays!)
So Sleepy (The Gummy Bears)
Please Send Me Someone to Love (Percy Mayfield)
Hey Big Dog (Margaret Cho and Patty Griffin)
Across the Universe (John Lennon and Paul McCartney)