Fiona Apple

Vinyl Me, What? Vinyl Me, Please!!

Good things come in 12 inch packages. Delivering limited edition pressings of new and classic albums directly to your doorstep, Vinyl Me, Please operates under a simple philosophy: The Album Lives. With a carefully curated catalog of new and hard to find releases, the subscription service is more than just a record club…it’s a lifestyle choice for folks who wish Record Store Day could happen every month. In their living room.

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The Skinny

Here’s how it works. You send Vinyl Me, Please some of your hard-earned money (plans start at $25/month) and they send you one meticulously selected album worthy of your time and attention. Easy, right? Each custom pressing (often on colored vinyl!) also comes with special features like original artwork and even a recipe for a companion cocktail. Best of all, you get access to the VMP online store. That means you’ll have a chance to grab a copy of previous VMP selections from the archives – including April’s killer re-issue of Gorillaz’s Demon Days – plus additional rare and exclusive releases.

This month’s store opens on May 16, and when it does you’ll have a chance to grab some seriously choice wax. Like a limited pressing of Al Green’s I’m Still In Love With You on mint green wax (ltd to 500) and a killer reissue of Massive Attack’s hypnotic electronic masterpiece Mezzanine. Not to mention Sam Amidon’s folktacular new release The Following Mountain and an insane boxed set release of Childish Gambino’s latest Awaken, My Love

There’s more. A lot more. While the store is now open to the public, many of VMP’s more exciting selections are only available to members. So you’ll have to sign up if you wanna get your mits on them. If you’re peckish about relinquishing control of your record collection over to complete strangers, know that VMP’s Swaps Program is in full effect. That means you can flip any VMP AOM pick you don’t like for a past release that’s a little more your speed. My advice? Don’t overthink it. Do yourself a favor and sign up today.

So, what about this month’s release? Try to stay calm, ’cause this month’s release has been a bad, bad girl for a little over twenty years now, but never before on vinyl.

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Fiona Apple

For the Love of Music, Please DO NOT BEND

I’ll be honest with you, this is the first month that I came close to using the Swaps option with Vinyl Me, Please. Not because I don’t like Fiona Apple. Or because I don’t Like Tidal. Quite the opposite. I happen to think that when she’s at her best, Apple may be one of the most distinctive voices that came of age in the late ’90s. When she’s not, well, she’s been one of the more frustratingly inconsistent ones as well.  

No, I almost swapped because I’ve found Tidal frustrating as an album and I’ve never felt compelled to revisit it. The first time I listened to the album I absolutely adored the first five songs, but the next five left me a little cold. I hadn’t listened to the album as a whole since. But I put my trust in Vinyl Me, Please and decided to give it another chance. Revisiting Tidal after so many years, well, I’m sad to say I still find it a little bit frustrating. The good news is that the first five songs on Tidal are as biting and brutal and savvy and stylish as I remember.

The album kicks off with the percussive rumble of ‘Sleep To Dream’, Apple’s husky voice delivering venomous sentiments like “You say love is a hell you cannot bare, I say give me mine back and then go there for all I care” with a righteous confidence that heralds the tempestuous waters ahead. As far as opening tracks go, you won’t find many as gutsy as ‘Sleep To Dream’. As far as second tracks go, you won’t find many as potent as ‘Sullen Girl’, an introspective exploration partially about Apple’s own rape and her need to understand how that experience helped shape her. The song became a soulful call for survivors to stay strong and remains a chilling bit of sonic catharsis.

She continues to look inward with the simmering ‘Shadowboxer’, a song whose lavish production and whimsical vibe betray Apple’s “hit or be hit” sentimentality about love and relationships. One barely has time to catch a breath before ‘Criminal’ hits. The song’s pounding piano and bounding beats draw you in as Apple’s sultry, shameless voice closes around you, trapping you in a claustrophobic confessional chamber.

The seductive, pitch-black jazz of ‘Slow Like Honey’ proves a welcome respite from the wounded and wounding honesty of the songs that precede it. But once ‘Slow Like Honey’ fades into the darkness Tidal always seems to lose me. For some mystifying reason, the opening bars of ‘The First Taste’ take me completely out of the album and nothing that follows can reel me back in. Those opening bars still take me out of it. And it’s still frustrating, because I know I’m missing out on music that I actually want to experience. ‘Carrion’ in particular is a song that I know I should dig. But its charms remain just out of my reach. And with them so do the marvelous, murky depths of Tidal.  

Cover Matters

Look into those eyes. Now try to look away. 

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As always, you’ll want to check the info on this little sticker before you rip open that plastic. Exclusive. Pressing. FIRST TIME ON VINYL!! Wow. 

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Time to start digging. Be sure to check out Tyler Barstow’s latest bit of poetic rambling before you dig too deep.

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Don’t forget to check the bottom of that slip so you can thank the VMP Staffer who packed your disc. I can’t really decipher that one initialing, but thank you whoever you are.

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You’ll need to flip that slip over if you wanna try the Three Olives Vodka’s companion cocktail, the Rind Stone Cowboy. It’s got watermelon vodka in it, which isn’t really my sorta thing. Still, it sounds refreshing as hell. 

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Make sure you give yourself a moment to take in Wade Jeffree’s and Leta Sobierajski’s artistic contribution as well, ’cause it’s a bit of a stunner. 

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And make sure to inspect this handy little insert before the VMP store opens for May to make sure you know what to look for … like that new disc from PWR BTTM (ltd. to 500 copies).

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And before we get into those sleeves, let’s take a moment to get into the killer photography inside that gatefold.

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So, what’s the haps in those sleeves already? Well, this 12-page lyric book complete with some more marvelous photographs of the woman herself.

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And of course there’s this. In fact, there’s two of them.

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They’re black, so you know they should be taken seriously.

Fiona Apple

How’s it sound? Like a long-lost ex mailed you their journals from the period when you were dating. You read them alone, in the dark and spend a sleepless night staring out a window with only a twisted inner-monologue to keep you company.   

Give It a Spin

Of all the intriguing albums released in the mid to late ’90s, I can’t say that Fiona Apple’s Tidal is one that I was dying to revisit. But damn if I didn’t enjoy it anyway. And anyone looking to dive back in to Apple’s world of biting, melodic internal explorations need look no further than this stunning, 180g audiophile pressing from Vinyl Me, Please. Thanks for giving me a chance to revisit this one Team VMP. And thanks for making every month another opportunity for pure discovery. ’Cause that’s what music is all about. 

A big THANK YOU to our friends at Vinyl Me, Please for sponsoring this subscription. Don’t forget to check out the official Vinyl Me, Please website and sign up to get some choice wax delivered right to your door each month! Can’t wait to see what crunchy treat is headed our way for June!

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