TIDAL contains multimedia photos, lyrics, a biography and the "Shadowboxer" video, all of which are playable on a CD-ROM drive.
Personnel: Fiona Apple (vocals, piano, Optigon); Jon Brion (guitar, harp, tack piano, Chamberlin, dulcitone, Optigon, vibraphone, marimba); Rob Laufer (guitar); Greg Leisz (pedal steel guitar); Ralph Morrison, Claudia Parducci (violin); Evan Wilson (viola); Larry Corbett (cello); Patrick Warren (piano, Chamberlin); Dan Rothchild, Greg Richling, Sara Lee (bass); Matt Chamberlain, Danny Frankel (drums, percussion); George Black (drum programming); Amber Maggart (background vocals).
Recorded at Sony Music Studios, Ocean Way Recorders and 4th Street Recording, Los Angeles, California.
Fiona Apple was nominated for the 1998 Grammy Award for Best New Artist. "Criminal" won the 1998 Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance and was nominated for the 1998 Grammy for Best Rock Song.
Judging from the songs that litter her debut, this 18-year-old singer-songwriter is at odds with every situation in which she finds herself. While exotic beats and luscious pop textures decorate the space around her, Apple takes a defiant stance with everyone she addresses. In song after song, she looks for her "own hell to raise" or "to take flight"; or else she paints herself as a "Shadowboxer" or "Criminal." Over and over, Apple presents herself as a hard-to-please emotional invalid, a societal outcast for whom songwriting is the only release.
Apple masks this confessional writing with simple-but-arty, piano-based melodies that recall Tori Amos. There are also jazzy touches to much of the presentation, which hint she might be a Rickie Lee Jones for an alternative nation. At times, particularly on "Slow Like Honey," which combines her husky, up-close-and-quiet voice with Jon Brion's tasteful vibraphone, a surprisingly subtle, smoky atmosphere develops. But, as with the rest of Apple's presentations, it becomes a dark lounge filled with Alanis-like notions of sexual politics.
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.63) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Rolling Stone (12/25/97, p.155) - "...There is a mature heft in her voice...that theatrically elevates even Apple's most brazen fits of honesty....Apple has a precocious flair for tart minor-mode flourishes in her melodies..."
Q (12/96, p.121) - 4 (out of 5) - "...Reminiscent of Nina Simone or Judie Tzuke....languidly addictive, with some suitably atmospheric percussion and sonic weirdness from Jon Brion, who plays everything from the marimba and vibraphone to the chamberlain and tack piano..."
Village Voice (2/24/98) - Ranked #35 in the Village Voice's 1997 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.