Fiona Apple – Tidal: #334 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Fiona Apple - Tidal

So why is Fiona Apple’s Tidal on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums list puts Fiona Apple’s When the Pawn… at #108 and Extraordinary Machine at #444*, but neglects to include Tidal.

* While right here at the best 1,000 albums ever project we have When the Pawn… at #409 and Extraordinary Machine at #755.

For me, Tidal is the best Fiona Apple album released to date. She’s never sounded as powerful or compelling as she does on tracks like “Criminal” and “Sleep to Dream.”

I recall seeing the “Criminal” music video on MTV, and I’m pretty sure that it was my first exposure to Fiona Apple’s music. It’s one of those very rare cases for me where the imagery of the music video had an impact on my feelings about the artist. The video is naughty, it’s sexy without being overly explicit, and it maps against the strong and sultry performance from Apple and the lush, striking production.

Musically, “Criminal” is a great combination of singer songwriter and rock song. I realized too that the era when Tidal was released (roughly mid-‘90s) was one when I started discovering female artists and female-fronted bands with strong voices and the personalities to match, and it helped to open up my interest in different kinds of music.

* For more recent examples, check out Smell the Magic by L7 (#337 of best 1,000 albums ever), Garbage’s self-titled debut (#373), and Veruca Salt’s Eight Arms to Hold You (#444).

I love how spare the production is on “Sleep to Dream,” giving Apple the space to push her range of emotions and expressiveness through her lyrics. The minimal piano and simple drum set-up is perfectly deployed to back her up. And then there are almost ghost or ghoul-like shimmering sound effects going on that give it a slightly creepy or haunting quality. It all works just great.

“Shadowboxer” is a much more straight-ahead singer songwriter number, and it’s a powerhouse one at that.

“Carrion” closes out Tidal, and it’s a much more gentle and sweet-sounding song, even as the lyrics seem to compare a dying relationship to a decaying carcass.

My feel for you, boy, is decaying in front of me
Like the carrion of a murdered prey
And all I want is to save you, honey
Or the strength to walk away

Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Fiona Apple’s Tidal

Speaking of MTV, here’s the pop culture anecdote that you didn’t know you wanted but that you need.

I recall watching Alternative Nation on MTV sometime back in the far gone 1990s, and the host, known simply as Kennedy, made some kind of goofy joke. All I can recall about is that the punchline was something to the effect of, “Who does she think she is, Fiona Snapple?”

That’s it. That’s your pop cultural anecdote for the day.

Some stats & info about Fiona Apple – Tidal

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Pop Music, Singer Songwriter, Indie Rock
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
  • When was Tidal released? 1996
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #334 out of 1,000

Fiona Apple’s Tidal on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Fiona Apple’s Tidal that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

What I need is a good defense, ‘cause I’m feeling like a criminal.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.