Fiona Apple, 'The Idler Wheel ...' (Epic)

Few records were consumed by my internal jukebox as intensely as this. Words and lines that I as a reasonably reserved gentleman never expected to sing out loud in my car — "He makes my heart a cinemascope screen/ Showing a dancing bird of paradise" — have poured forth over the six months since its release. Apple's 10 compositions on her fourth record are thick with requisite Apple drama — detractors might call this melodrama — but she's matured in the dozen years since her debut, as evidenced by the admirable restraint and bounty of nuanced silences, suggesting Joni Mitchell's "Hejira" as if haunted by the spirit of Berthold Brecht.
Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times / Epic
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