Pop songstress Fiona Apple has emerged from the rock she’s been hiding under. Starting with an appearance at Pitchfork’s SXSW Showcase in Austin, TX on March 15, Apple will piggyback that performance with a string of US concert dates. But what exactly happened to one of the most promising talents of the 90s?
She was a hot mess, that’s what. She was the original hot mess before the likes of Paris and Britney were showing their pantie-less koochies getting out of big black SUVs and before Lindsey was stealing jewelry for the fun of it. Here’s a few of the highlights that led to Apple’s crumble (sorry, could not resist):
- Ah, the acceptance speech heard around the world. After winning the Best New Artist award for the song “Sleep to Dream” at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards Apple, leading with a Maya Angelou quote, thanked all those who made winning that award possible by saying, “This world is bullshit, and you shouldn’t model your life on what we think is cool, and what we’re wearing and what we’re saying.” Apple was accused of being ungrateful, and I’m sure Maya Angelou was ecstatic for the sweet hook-up.
- In 1997, The New Yorker says Apple looks like “an underfed Calvin Klein model.” Unlike waif-er cookies like Calista Flockhart, Lara Flynn Boyle and Portia de Rossi who, around the same time, tried to pull one over on the public by saying it was perfectly normal to be 5’8″ and weigh 80-90 pounds, Apple agreed with her accusers, saying in a Rolling Stone interview, “What was really frustrating for me was that everyone thought I was anorexic, and I wasn’t. I was just really depressed and self-loathing…” Last I checked, the definition for not eating is anorexia nervosa, not hating yourself...
- Apple continues to court controversy with the third single off her debut Tidal. The video for “Criminal” furthered ‘heroin chic’ into the collective consciousness and featured an impossibly thin Apple undressing and surrounded by tranq’d out models as she sings, “I’ve been a bad, bad girl.” Young boys everywhere rejoice.
- Apple releases her second album entitled, When the pawn hits the conflicts he thinks like a king/What he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight/And he’ll win the whole thing ‘fore he enters the ring/There’s no body to batter when your mind is your might/So when you go solo, you hold your own hand/And remember that depth is the greatest of heights/And if you know where you stand, then you know where to land/And if you fall it won’t matter, cause you’ll know that you’re right. The title, a poem to all her haters, goes down in the Guinness Book of Records, beat out in 2007 by Soulwax‘s Most of the remixes we’ve made for other people over the years except for the one for Einstürzende Neubauten because we lost it and a few we didn’t think sounded good enough or just didn’t fit in length-wise, but including some that are hard to find because either people forgot about them or simply because they haven’t been released yet, a few we really love, one we think is just ok, some we did for free, some we did for money, some for ourselves without permission and some for friends as swaps but never on time and always at our studio in Ghent. Soulwax’s title beats out Apple’s by 100 characters. Gooooo Soulwax! Whoever you are…
- “Music’s most infamous on-stage meltdown,” happened in 2000 during a show at New York’s Roseland Ballroom. Faulty sound equipment was to blame, not a lack of professionalism in a time of crisis.
- After the Roseland Ballroom incident, at the ripe old age of 23, Apple considers retirement. Two years later, after realizing no one gives a sh*t that she retired, she agrees to record her third album Extraordinary Machine without a deadline. By 2005, tracks leak onto the internet but the songs fail to chart.
- Apple records a version of Buddy Holly’s “Everyday” for the tribute album, Rave on Buddy Holly in June 2011. Fans smell a comeback.
- …and those fans’ wishes are granted when Apple announces a string of concert dates starting in Austin, TX at the 2012 SXSW Music Festival. Will witty hijinx ensue?