Review #108: When The Pawn…, Fiona Apple

Karla Clifton
2 min readJun 15, 2021

#108: 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, cuz you’ll know that you’re right, Fiona Apple

Yeah, that’s right, the name of this album is a poem, which is just extremely pretentious but — I’ll say it — also extremely punk rock. I know I’ve been throwing that term out pretty liberally lately but I just have a lot of respect for people who do extremely arty, pretentious things that they know people are going to rip into them for.

So the album title is actually a response to a Spin cover story that basically got Apple a lot of hate. I started to read it and then got angry and stopped, because it’s honestly really crappy journalism.

I was never into Fiona Apple until her album Fetch The Bolt Cutters came out in 2020. Bolt Cutters is so great that I think it might be better than When The Pawn…, but since this one is a revenge album, I will admit that it has the edge.


“On The Bound” — I am all about angry jazz.

“To Your Love” — What a wild melody. Also I love the incorporation of the word “derring-do.”

“Limp” You fondle my trigger, then you blame my gun. I love people who can make angry words pretty.

“Love Ridden” — I love when she almost blows out the mic on this lush piano ballad.

“Paper Bag” — This is probably the best one (though yikes to this music video). Hunger hurts but starving works.

“Fast As You Can” — The syncopated chorus is so so good.

“Get Gone” And I do know what’s good for me/ And I’ve done what I could for you.

“I Know” — She just has so much control over her voice, which is impressive considering she’s growling on half of this album.


“A Mistake” — I actually LOVE this song, but it also reminds me of people who do crappy things for crappy reasons.


I loved When The Pawn… more after reading that awful cover story. Say what you want about Rolling Stone, but at least they never performed character assassination on Fiona Apple.

Review #107: Marquee Moon, Television

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