3 Albums for your Quarantined Music Monday (Fiona Apple Included)

It’s hard to believe it’s once again Monday. While I know I’m not the only one beginning to go a little stir crazy (or maybe you’re already there?), I’ve been attempting to keep busy. Easier said than done, I must say. I feel antsy. The wanderlust is strong in this one, and I admit I’m yearning for the open road of the unknown and new surroundings.

Until that day can return, I’ll do what I know best: write, keep busy, and listen to music. Hopefully, more outlets will evolve. As I said, this pandemic has shown me how much I adore my opportunities to travel.

But, enough of my griping. I’m here with a mission; not just to complain! As I said, I love listening to music, especially when I’m writing. In addition to penning articles and posts, I’m trying to get back into keeping a journal, and see what other hobbies could come from that. Self-care seems key at this time, am I right? So, today’s post is all about celebrating Music Monday and sharing some tunes frequently playing in my earbuds. I hope it inspires you! xo

Fetch the Bolt Cutters, Fiona Apple

The most exciting thing lately has got to be Fiona Apple’s surprise release of her first new record in eight years. I’ve loved Fiona since I first heard her second album When the Pawn…, probably 15 or more years ago. While on the surface some may brush her off as a “90’s riot grrl,” her new album, Fetch the Bolt Cutters, proves that she’s one of modern music’s greatest experimental artists.

Much like the evolution of Joni Mitchell’s catalog, Fetch the Bolt Cutters gives us some of Fiona’s most biting lyrics and scorching vocals yet, but the music goes beyond her primary instrument of the piano. Recorded at her bungalow in Venice Beach, Fiona and her small troupe of musicians experiment with household items, the ground, whatever is around. Despite her record label urging her to postpone releasing, Fiona did what Fiona wanted and much to our quarantined delight released it anyhow.

Similar to her last album, The Idler Wheel, Fiona challenges the listener. To truly absorb the depth of her work, you may have to give Bolt Cutters a few listens. So far, I’ve connected with the orgasmic opening I Want You to Love Me (seriously-her vocals at the end are nothing short of a climactic finale); Shameika, an incredible surround sound upbeat ditty of a young Fiona fighting off the bullies at school and a mysterious classmate named Shameika assuring her that she “has potential” despite the cool kids saying otherwise; the title track, which I think could resonate with each of us, yet in completely various ways: “Fetch the bolt cutters/I’ve been in here too long” she sings; and Heavy Balloon, a beautiful classic Fiona ballad that brings to mind earlier torch tunes, Slow Like Honey and I Know.

“People like us, we play with a heavy balloon,” she sings, “we keep it up to keep the devil at bay, but it always falls way too soon.”

This is why, friends, Fiona Apple is vital right now.

On Your Own Love Again, Jessica Pratt

While I used to discover new music through cassette tapes at second-hand stores, nowadays it’s Spotify Radio. I forget who I’d been playing…yet when the album ended, Spotify offered to continue my listening session with a blend of similar artists, and before I knew it, I heard this ethereal, fragile voice that I instantly connected with.

Jessica Pratt’s delicate vocals bring to mind Martha Wainwright and Pieces of You era Jewel. Her 2015 album, On Your Own Love Again, is acoustic, lo-fi, and feels like a warm cup of tea on a cold day. The first song that introduced me to Pratt was Moon Dude, and I’ve been listening to the record ever since. 

With three albums under her belt since 2011, her sophomore release On Your Own Love Again was recorded in her bedroom and gives that intimate, slumber party vibe like Bjork’s Debut.

While albums like Fiona’s…Bolt Cutters require a rather dedicated listen, On Your Own Love Again is the perfect spin when you need to relax and feel like you’re talking to a friend. Her voice will soothe you.

William Patrick Corgan, Cotillions

An album I’ve been playing that seems extremely relevant at this time is William Patrick Corgan’s (AKA Billy) Cotillions. The Smashing Pumpkins lead man ditches the goth and guitar riffs in exchange for a solo album chronicling his road trip across America along Route 66. I’ve always felt that to have a proper appreciation for music, you need to expose yourself to a wide variety and understand how one genre influenced the other. Corgan shows once again that he’s a master at doing just that.

With a bluegrassy, Americana tone, Cotillions reflects a lost America, while not ignoring the history being made in the country before our eyes. Songs like Hard Times and To Scatter One’s Own hit very close to home for where we are right now and have brought some solace to me during these. well. hard times.

While I’m a sucker for a fantastic rock and roll experience, thus why I adore the Smashing Pumpkins, Cotillions offers listeners the opportunity for a much more intimate and introspective look into the Corgan mind. Pumpkin Heads will appreciate notable names like Linda Strawberry, Katie Cole, and Jeff Schroeder contributing to tracks.

Further Listening….

Other albums I’m spending a fair amount of time with are Elliott Smith’s Figure 8 (which just turned 20), Joni Mitchell’s’ Hejira, Stone Temple Pilots’ No. 4, and Nina Simone’s To Love Somebody.

Tell me, my friends: what’s in your earbuds these quarantine days? And for those wondering, I’m still curating a new Along Comes Mary Spring mix on Spotify….stay tuned. xo

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