First off, the second part of this post will be about music, specifically Fiona Apple. If this does not interest you, might I lure you to take a quiz testing how well you know me? The winner will receive... well... I dunno. I'm thinking of allowing a guest post? Safe to offer since the winner presumably knows me quite well and won't besmirch this blog's good name. (hahahahahaha!)
Ok now the Fiona Apple review. I've been meaning to post about Fiona Apple's latest, Extraordinary Machine. THFB thought it might be interesting to compare the official release to the leaked version and vote which I preferred, so here we go:
Extraordinary Machine - Unofficial: The official release is more produced and more complex (more background instruments), but I think I like the simplicity of the unofficial version. I think it fits the mood and tempo better. I don't know if I'm crazy, but I think I like the timing of the "chimes" better in this version too.
Get Him Back - Official: Close call though, only picking the official release because it felt more polished. There's some voice echoing and added instrumentals that I think help.
O(h) Sailor - Official: The unoffical version is slower, which makes it feel moodier and heavier, thus in my opinion better suited for the song. BUT, I still like the official version better. Maybe it's just that by now I'm used to the radio cut of the song (this is the first single off the album). The piano sounds muddier on the unofficial but I suspect that has more to do with the file quality.
Better Version of Me - Unofficial: I like the beginning and ending of the unofficial version better. The ending makes me want to go strut down the sidewalk. The official version's end is a bit anti-climactic and flat compared to the rest of the song. The unofficial version has a better buildup. I wish the vocal was crisper on the unoffical, something that would probably have improved on an official release. On a side note, this song sounds the most like something I'd have found on When the Pawn.
Tymps/Used to Love Him - Official: This song is why I got the official release. When I read reviews about this album, so many people commented they loved Tymps for its hip hop feel. Tymps is Used to Love Him on the unofficial release. Used to Love Him definitely does not have a hip hop feel to it and it's got a trumpet segue that borders cheesy imo. To me Tymps just has a hint of hip hop (when did hip hop last use a xylophone?) but the rhythm is cool and it definitely shows her versatility. Anyway, I think the song definitely improved with the production work and I think this is my fave song on the album.
Parting Gift - This song is not on the unoffical version of the album. Think back to about the second half of the Tidal album. Didn't like it? You probably wouldn't like this either. (I'm ambivalent although I LOVE Pale September)
Window - Official: The music surrounding the verses definately changed from the unoffical release (the chorus has stayed relatively the same). This was also a close call but I'll have to go with the offical release because the contrast between the verses and the chorus (you'll know what I mean if you heard the unofficial) works better in my opinion and the vocals have definitely been cleaned up. Btw, this is the most "psycho but so awesome" song. You just gotta love Fiona.
Oh Well - Official: I think this song changed the least. Going with the official version just for the cleaned up production. On a second listen, her vocals seem stronger as well. The unofficial vocals seem a little more raw, which I guess you could take to be "truer" to emotion but it just sounds too warbly to me.
Please Please Please - Unofficial: The official one sounds overproduced to me, but I could see it being the better version if I heard it live.
Red Red Red - Official: I thought the unofficial version a tad creepy (something about the echoes on "kill kill kill kill"). This one's been softened and I found it actually very lovely to listen to, almost soothing. Definitely brings out the introspective side of the song.
Not About Love - Unofficial: I think the official version is actually too softened.
Waltz - Unofficial: I can't put my finger on why, but the unofficial version sounds more uplifting and playful to me. But again, this is one of those cases where I think the official version would be the one better suited for a live performance.
So the count is
Pretty danged close. And I wouldn't recommend mixing them to create an "ultimate" set because as a whole, the albums are more cohesive with all their own respective songs.
Compared to her other albums, I don't think it lives up lyrically to her past endeavors. It's missing those mixed metaphors and crazy allusions found in songs like Sleep to Dream and Pale September (from Tidal) and Love Ridden and Paperbag (from When the Pawn). That trademark is what made me hunt for lyrics and memorize lines from her songs (and what ultimately made me a fan) and I just haven't had that urge with this album. However, instrumentally she's definately expanded and my ears are kept busy keeping up with the songs.
If you're a fan of Fiona it doesn't hurt to go hunting for the unoffical release, but for general music fans I would recommend investing in the official version. I can't wait to see her at House of Blues!!