Single Review: Hot Knife by Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple's 2012 album, The Idler Wheel..., is a masterpiece--a remarkable and idiosyncratic record composed of ten flawless tracks that capture Apple's eccentric aesthetic. "Hot Knife," her new single from the album, acts as a triumphant conclusion to the spare and moody LP. The song also has bare instrumentation built mostly of live percussion--here just a rumbling drum--but she raises the energy by filling the track with layered vocals, allowing it to build over the the course of the recording. The hook is built of Apple and her sister singing in harmony, "I'm a hot knife. He's a pad of butter. If I get a chance, I'm going to show him that he's never gonna need, never gonna need another." This "loop" is clearly not just a recorded phrase duplicated and tacked together, but rather a long stream of live vocals during which you can hear Apple gasp for air between phrases. The effect makes the already sexy and seductive track sound all the more alive. The song is a gem, and it's wonderful to see it getting a second lease on life with a new video.


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