Welcome back to our weekly series, in which the 33 1/3 staff take turns picking one of our favorite videos and offering it up for your Friday viewing pleasure. This week, editorial assistant Kaitlin Fontana is back for her second installment.
Last week marked the 35th birthday of one Fiona Apple McAfee Maggart, aka Fiona Apple, the reliably weird and lark-voiced waif whose debut album, Tidal, was released in–wait for it–1996. Do you feel old? I certainly do.
This past year Ms. Apple released her long-awaited fourth album, entitled (deep breath): The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. Disregarding long titles, odd behavior, and other news items, there is no other contemporary singer-songwriter (yuck! Terrible term, but that’s what she is, technically) whose musical output over a nearly fifteen-year period has been as consistent, as challenging, as surprising, as incredible, as hers. She was 19 when Tidal came out. She’s 35 today. If you haven’t yet heard The Idler Wheel… or Extraordinary Machine OR When the Pawn… OR Tidal–just do, okay? Trust me.
Today’s video vault choice is for one of my favorite songs on the new record. I was tempted to dig deep and throw Tidal‘s “Criminal” up here as it’s a classic and still controversial all these years on, but you’ve seen that one. Sometimes we don’t see great music videos anymore, dagnabbit (she says, shaking her crotchety old fist). And this one is directed by Apple’s ex-boyfriend Paul Thomas Anderson. It’s simple, but it’s perfect. That’s Fiona’s sister, Maude Maggart, singing into her face (and on the track, naturally). Side note: If you want to see other videos Anderson has directed for Fiona, NY Mag has a nice piece up on that.
Happy Birthday, Fiona. Be as weird as you want, as far as I’m concerned. You’ve earned it.