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When The Pawn...
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Product Description

When the Pawn Hits fulfills the promise of Fiona Apple's debut, Tidal, a strong statement given that her first outing was one of 1996's most exciting collections. Dark and emotionally dense, Apple's sophomore effort is awash in alluring and witty undercurrents that belie its creator's youth. --Steven Stolder

Fiona Apple, what a character. Between the softcore video, the awards show rebuke, and now for her second album concocting history's most ludicrous title (the full thing runs 90 words long), Apple is earning a rep as a world-class oddball. Which may be the case. In contrast to many of her faux eccentric contemporaries, however, this wolf in waif's clothing seems to be genuinely astray in the straight world. And Apple is the real thing in another way--as a talent. When the Pawn Hits picks up where her eye-opening debut, Tidal, left off. With Jon Brion back in the producer's seat, the twosome concoct a heady, keyboard-heavy soundscape that perfectly complements the singer's assertive, dangerously sexy Nina Simone-meets-Chrissie Hynde delivery. Unforeseen embellishments color the arrangements, including the sinister carnival interlude in "On the Bound," the George Harrison-like guitar in "Mistake," and the drum solo (when's the last time you heard one of those on a pop album?) in "Limp." All Brion's enhancements are in service of Apple, who comes through with preternaturally confident expressions of insecure sentiments ("Change my mind, I can't decide, there's too many variations to consider") and cold-eyed accounts of recrimination and self-recrimination. Cohesive, gutsy, and finely honed, When the Pawn Hits pummels any notions of a sophomore slump for 1996's most promising newcomer. A character, yes, but what an artist, too! --Steven Stolder

Customer Reviews:

  • almost 7 yrs later?
    this album was released in 1999
    it is now 2006
    about 7 years after the release and i am still in awe at how magnificent this album is.
    i think everyone who gives this album a listen will realize and imagine just how much time and effort was put into the making of these songs.
    her voice sounds so weary and vulnerable the lyrics are so strong, emotional, and powerful.
    this is like one of the best cds of the decade =[. ...more info
  • If the title doesn't draw you in, the music will...
    Fiona Apple, quite possibly the greates singer/songwriter of our time, has made another beautiful piece of work. Her title inspires me so much, as does the music within it. She took a huge step as taking a new approach to her music. She decided for this album to not be as, dreary, as the other. I personally like both.
    The album begins with "On The Bound" a song I have come to love, not at first though. The album ends with "I Know"...probably in a close running with "Love Ridden" for my favorite song on the album. Personally, I listen to her mainly for her lyrics (and beautiful voice). It is like abstract art, you can make her songs help you cope with the pains you go through. That is why Fiona Apple is so important to many. The album is amazing and inspirational. She deserved as many grammy's as she could get for this album....more info
  • Even better...
    This is very good. I'm a little surprised (pleasantly, of course) because this is so much better than the first album.I love the way the music sounds- all dark and melancholy. Oh, and Jackie or whatever your name is (first page) you spelt melancholy wrong. It's not spelt " mellan collie" Sorry. *no offense intended*.
    Okay anyway, Fiona's lyrics are very beautifully written. But unfortanately none of my friends like it (well they listen to Bit*hy Spears, Hilary Duff a.k.a "Hilary Puff", and Jessica Simpson, well jessica has a good voice, but I don't really like her songs) okay, lets shutup now ,I'm giving myself a headache

    So ANYWAY how about you buy the CD. I won't shut up if you don't... HA HA HA... WAAAHH! Hey why are you still reading this? GO! BUY THE FREAKIN CD!!! Sorrry. I'll go get help. Phsyciatric help. Bye Bye!!!...more info
  • I am ashamed of myself
    I don't know why on earth I haven't put attention to Fiona Apple before. I heard Criminal, Limp and Fast as you can and loved them but I never hadn't sit myself and listen to her.

    Bottom line is: this album is great. I can't have enough of it....more info
  • The Best Apple CD
    I feel that this is the best of the three Fiona CDs. This is probably my most listened and most coveted CD, not just by Apple, but in general. She is an amazing singer/songwriter and this album is a display of that. You WILL NOT be disappointed by this purchase....more info
  • a modern classic
    the best record i've heard in the past few years... awesome production... fiona at her best, great songs, great arrangements, great sound...
    it puts her right there with my most favored classics... a modern day "abbey road".. can't stop listening to it... absolute masterpiece.a step up form the debut album... it actualy made me by all three fiona records... ...more info
  • I Had to Buy a Second One
    This is the second time that I've purchased this album...I bought it the day that it was released back in 1999, and I finally wore that copy out a few weeks ago. While I love everything Fiona Apple puts out, this remains both my favorite CD of hers and of all time. This is one of those rare albums where every single song is amazing, and you can listen to it without having to touch your "skip track" button. While "Fast As You Can" was the biggest hit as a single, songs like "A Mistake" and "To Your Love" can only be described as Beatles-esque. "The Way Things Are," "Get Gone," and "I'll Know" are some of the (if not the) most insightful and thoughtful songs about being in an unsatisfying relationship that I've ever heard. Fiona weaves charming plays-on-words effortlessly into beautiful and vivid storytelling, all set to truly unique musical arrangements....more info
  • If you have ever changing moods, get this album NOW.
    How can I describe this album... I've had it for months and I still listen to it every day. It's without a doubt one of my top three albums of all time.
    The first song I heard was "Paper Bag", I was instantly swallowed in by the incredibly laissez faire mood of the song. So relaxing and fun to sway to.
    "Fast As You Can" (the album's first single), takes you through a fast, groovin' track ripe with emotion, then breaks into a down-toned interlude with the most beautiful vocal work I've ever heard before it pulls you back into its chaotic groove.
    "I Know" is relaxation in its purest form. This song suits any time of day, any mood, any weather. This song is for everyone. The piano just washes away every care and worry.

    There's no point in my describing the rest of the album because I know all of you would enjoy it. Did you like "Tidal"? I'm 100% sure you'll find "When the pawn..." a PERFECT sequel to it....more info
  • Apple Sauce
    Have not heard much from Ms Apple except for radio play. Ordered three compact disks at once. Have been working my way thru them. Neither good or bad. Interesting production....more info
  • She Might Be The Poet Laureate Of The New Millennium...
    The space cadet kook-fest she personified with the uneven "Tidal" is vanished and in her place comes this generations premiere poet/songwriter. "When The Pawn..." [a condensed mantra that goes on for 90 words] elaborates further Apple's promise/disappointment of "Tidal", a debut that too often pandered to cacophonous ramblings too mature for their own good. She showed a fierce ability for intense melody and adult vocals, but too often fumbled in the face of all the confusion. With "...Pawn", Apple allocates brilliantly, a middle ground for her vocal capability and intricate melody and phrasing. Her songwriting would make [early] Joni Mitchell proud, evoking a poets pen more so than any of the newer, young singer/songwriters. And if Sony Music has the balls to release her new 'Extraordinary Machine' single, then you will all see exactly what i mean. My grade: A
    ...more info
  • One of the Best of the 90's
    I've been listening to Fiona Apple for a long time now, and I figure it's only right that I come to and write a babbling review for this record.

    Fiona Apple is amazing.

    I've nothing interesting to say about the record, which is why I'm writing this review. It's great, but if you're new to her material and wondering whether Fiona Apple is typical mtv stuff, or more quality; she's more quality. A hermit that sits at home all day, drinking, and passing the time by submersing different fisher-price electronic toys in water just to hear what dying sound each one emitts would probably enjoy this record much more then your average Mike Johnson poogily bear, cook-out loving basketball playing skin-head weasle.

    See what I'm saying? ^ Therefore it must be brilliant.

    Thanks for your time. ...more info
  • "Pawn" becomes a queen
    Fiona Apple returns in rare form in "When the Pawn..." (plus about ninety more words), her sophomore album -- and one of the rare ones that actually improves on the first. Her passionate bluesy-jazzy sound is blended with her strong, sensitive vocals and one soul-baring song after another.

    "Hell don't know my fury." You said it, Fiona. Anger and melancholy permeate her songs, including the rage of "Limp" ("But no matter what I try/You'll beat me with your bitter lies") and the restrained quality of piano-bombast "The Way Things Are." Even the musically gentle "I Know" has a deep sadness, starting to move past some of the bitterness and anger coming before it, and early on Apple seems to apologize for her romantic shortcomings.

    Female singer-songwriters are a dime a dozen today, but few of them do much more than set basic pop songs to acoustic guitar and piano. But Fiona Apple forges ahead with a noncomformist attitude and strong songs. In a nutshell, she comes across as an excellent musician, with all the power you'd expect from such a singer. And every song is a winner, gut-wrenching and beautiful in its intensity.

    Musically, it has almost as much impact as her writing does. The music is often led by Apple's piano -- not tinkly piano, but dark, fast melodies that match her songs in rhythm and intensity. Percussion booms in songs like "Limp," as if giving vent to Apple's feelings. And cropping up from time to time are odd gurgles and squiggles, as well as some well-blended horn arrangements in the background.

    Apple's voice is strong and assured, but it also has that rare quality of expressing vast amounts of emotion. Without, I might add, sounding overwrought. Which, since the mood is that of an Angry Young Woman, is a hard thing to pull off, but Apple's richly poetic lyrics ("And you can use my skin/to bury secrets in") make her songs seem intensely personal.

    "When the Pawn..." is an almost exhausting experience -- just try listening to the whole thing without getting your heart rate up. From rotten lovers to personal pain, Fiona Apple explores the bitter side of love... and despite its bitterness, it's a gem....more info
  • Excerpted from, #426
    When the Pawn

    The full title of this album is: 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. The songs contained on the album however are in fact, as ambitious as the title. When the Pawn more than fulfills the promises made on Tidal: The promises of an adventurous female musician for what was then the coming millenium who would exceed every expectation.

    The album starts in familiar territory with, "On the Bound." It almost sounds like Tidal, Redux: a heavy pounding piano, with a flute-like sound over the top - all quite standard. But with a finer ear, it's clear that this isn't the same old Apple album: the drum is infinitely more inventive as evidenced by the first few beats where all that is playing is said drum part. The abrupt shift between verse and chorus is very familiar, a la Criminal, but to get back to the verse Apple uses a very interesting technique. Having built up quite a head of steam on her chorus of "You're all I need," suddenly the instrumentals drop to a few lone plinks on the piano:
    "And maybe some faith would
    Do me good"
    The lyrics to "On the Bound" are a little difficult to follow at first. They're difficult to comprehend at second. But to Apple they must mean something for she sings them with great conviction and they fit seamlessly with the music.

    "Limp" is an Angry song. The title comes from a phrase in the chorus:
    It won't be long till you'll be
    Lying limp in your own hand
    Geeze. Wonder what that's about, now doncha? It is a fabulous song, following the traditional alternative pattern laid down by the Pixies: soft verses, pounding chorus- and does this chorus ever pound. If you'll love "Limp" for anything it'll be the tangible rage in the chorus:

    And when I think of it, my fingers turn to fists
    I never did anything to you, man
    But no matter what I try
    You'll beat me with your bitter lies
    So call me crazy, hold me down
    Make me cry; get off now, baby-
    It won't be long till you'll be
    Lying limp in your own hand"
    Listening to the track, the image of lips curled into a sneer of absolute derision and scorn is more than clearly visible. It's a creative song though above all, and doesn't retread old ground. Example: "You fondle my trigger, then you blame my gun."

    The fourth track, "Love Ridden" is absolutely, my song. It opens with such a striking analogy, it caputres attention the way the first sentance of a narrative has to, but so few pop songs do: "Love ridden, I've looked at you /With the focus I gave to my birthday candles." "Love Ridden" is a supurbly written piece, like nothing I've heard. The movement of the piano makes the melody wash over one's very soul, but Apple's voice leaps and flies - not only in the context of notes, but in great blossoming crescendos - Apple is undoubtedly a master of the vocal phrase. I don't think that anyone expresses more eloquently the complexity of letting go:
    I want your warm, but it will only make
    Me colder when it's over,
    So I can't tonight, baby
    No, not "baby" anymore - if I need you
    I'll just use your simple name
    Only kisses on the cheek from now on
    And in a little while, we'll only have to wave
    No one has said it better and I don't think anyone will surpass Apple for succinctness in this department. No, not "baby" anymore... "Love Ridden" is absolutely a perfectly crafted song.

    As much as I love "Love Ridden," I love "Paper Bag" more. The title comes from a particularly artistic line: "I thought it was a bird, but it was just a paper bag." That line is more than a throw-away, more than something to fit the meter: that is a metaphor for life. Musically, this piece is a work of jazz for the new millenium. Labling this 'alternative rock' is incredibly narrow, from tha spiffy snare drum sound to the vocal noodlings ("I said, 'Honey, I don't feel so good") this tune is more Gershwin than Garbage. Once again, what makes the song an absolute delight is Apple's skill as a lyricist. The very clever turn, "... he said /'It's all in your head,' and I said, 'So's everything'/ but he didn't get it..." is nothing short of wickedly memorable. The refrain to Paper Bag is every bit as witty as the verses, but with a serious emotional weight:
    Hunger hurts, and I want him so bad, oh it kills
    'Cause I know I'm a mess he don't wanna clean up
    I got to fold 'cause these hands are too shaky to hold
    Hunger hurts, but starving works, when it costs too much to love.

    "Fast As You Can" is the album's single. It's a decision that I suppose was justifiable, although, I would've picked "Paper Bag". "Fast As You Can" opens like "On the Bound" with a short, interesting, ethnically-influenced drum solo that continues through the song layered with an almost "dance" beat. It's inventive, it's new - but it's very accesible. On the chorus, Apple makes skillful use of double-tracking, again acheiving an erie effect with an overused technique. The lyrics are remarkable when compared to those of other artists, but not in regards to the rest of the album.

    And the rest of the album? The rest of the album is great. Unlike Tidal, the end of this masterpiece doesn't flag in the slightest. "The Way Things Are" manages to be anthemic, in an odd way, and "Get Gone" is a perfect illustration of why Apple wears the crown of Angriest Chick of the Nineties ("It's time the truth was out that he don't give a / ---- about me") and "I Know" wraps the album up in a calm blusy manner This album gets a solid five out of five.

    Five what you say?
    Five Journals of Angsty Feministic Lyrics.
    ...more info
  • This record is great
    In fact, It is so great, I have to buy another copy.. I wore the last one out. If you like Music at all.. you will like this. It is a bit heavy, though.

    xo...more info
  • Neither memorable nor personal enough
    Along with Tori Amos, Fiona Apple repopularised the piano as a rock instrument in the 1990s amidst a stream of annoying grunge and techno. Influenced by long-forgotten 1970s albums like Turn of the Cards, Tori's first two albums were exceptionally personal and melodic works that for me as a first- and second-year student of Melbourne University, became beacons of hope in a musical landscape that seemed to be deteriorating all the time.

    When she first emerged in 1996 with Tidal, I thought (oddly) Fiona Apple was from my native Australia and she seemed interesting enough that I bought "When The Pawn" almost as soon as it came out despite not being pleased with the new direction she seemed to be taking. With hindsight, I feel at present that my judgement has been vindicated. Just as Tori tried some quite silly experiments on her third album, on "When the Pawn" Apple is trying to be a "twisted" rocker. In the process, both her voice and piano lose out. What is undoubtedly meant to be eerie soundscapes on most tracks on "When the Pawn" tend to come off as half-hearted, notably on the opening two tracks. In other parts of the album, Apple simply comes off as tuneless.

    With the exception of "Fast As You Can", which really does pull off the trick of being utterly creepy, none of "When The Pawn"'s songs have a really memorable line or lyric: instead, they sound like Alanis Morrisette trying to be an art-rock singer. The lyrics, too, tend to be too much of the angsty, Melissa Etheridge-style "wronged lover" school to really be effective: there is not nearly enough personal reflection or serious storytelling.

    All in all, if you want to see a record that is truly "pretentious" whilst not achieving much, you've come to the right place. Stick with Tori's first two albums if you want some really genuine piano rock, though....more info
  • loved this cd
    I heard Ms. Fiona perform on a morning news show and was quite taken with her performance. I proceded to purchase her newest cd, and loved it, so I decided to see what other cd's she had out there and this was one of them so I bought this as well. I was definitely also pleased with this one. I like her voice, sort of raspy and the words she sings are very distinguishable, the music does not drown her out but joins with her voice as one.
    ...more info
  • Appletising Fiona
    There aren't many female solo artists I really like but Fiona Apple is one of them.
    She's cool and real. Great to listen to in those contemplative moods when you want to feel stronger. ...more info
  • "And I'll be your girl if you say it's a gift..."
    Fiona Apple's When the Pawn... is an ok album of sorts. Boy is she angry and pissed on these songs. After that MTV fiasco in 1997, Fiona became an outspoken and muchly hated woman for speaking her mind. This album is very different from her debut album, Tidal. Standout tracks include: Limp, Fast as you Can, Love Ridden, Paperbag, Get Gone, and The Way Things Are. The rest of the songs I didn't care for, nothing drastically wrong with them just middle of the road tracks. Some of the songs are too jazzy and slow for my taste. But the songs I do like are strong and gutsy, especially the song Limp, "You feed the beast I have within me, you wave the red flag baby you make it run, run, run, standing on the sidelines waving and grining, you fondle my trigger then you blame my gun..." The song Love Ridden would actually fit better on her Tidal album, haunting and gorgeous song though, "Love ridden I've looked at you, with the focus I gave to my birthday candles, I've wished on the lidded blue flames under your brow and baby I wished for you..." When the Pawn shines in certain places but otherwise average to my picky ears....more info
  • Best lyrical CD ever
    Personally i don't care what people think of Fiona as a person. I have literally thousands of CD's and "When The Pawn" is the best lyrical CD i've ever heard. Theres nothing i've ever heard lyrically that even comes close to this CD. Not much else i can say other than if your thinking of buying it please do....more info
  • true alternative diva
    Ok, being a pianist my whole life and loving all genres of music literally from classical to the depressing, lets get drunk tunes of country, i have fallen in love with Fiona Apple. Not only as an artist, but as a person who speaks her mind and conveys so many raw emotions through her music. The lyrics she uses aren't something a Britney Spears or someother manufactured musical celebrity could write.. these lyrics are true and str8 from the heart of passion which comes across so powerfully in her voice.. not only does she sing it but she makes you the listener feel what she's feeling with her voice.. and that my friends is the sign of a true accomplishment, one which every performer aims to achieve. "When the Pawn" is a fabulous album of love, regret, and moving on.. i hope you all enjoy it as much as i have. also.. buy her first album as well "Tidal"...more info
  • I Had to Buy a Second One
    This is the second time that I've purchased this album...I bought it the day that it was released back in 1999, and I finally wore that copy out a few weeks ago. While I love everything Fiona Apple puts out, this remains both my favorite CD of hers and of all time. This is one of those rare albums where every single song is amazing, and you can listen to it without having to touch your "skip track" button. While "Fast As You Can" was the biggest hit as a single, songs like "A Mistake" and "To Your Love" can only be described as Beatles-esque. "The Way Things Are," "Get Gone," and "I'll Know" are some of the (if not the) most insightful and thoughtful songs about being in an unsatisfying relationship that I've ever heard. Fiona weaves charming plays-on-words effortlessly into beautiful and vivid storytelling, all set to truly unique musical arrangements....more info
  • One of my all-time favorite albums
    Fiona Apple really can do no wrong. She is one of my favorite artists because not only is her poetic songwriting ability very nearly unparalleled in music today (My derring-do allows me to dance the rigadoon around you/But by the time I'm close to you, I lose/My desideratum and now you) but she also possesses a uniquely powerful voice that she wields like a gun; whether it be pure beauty and simple acceptance ("I Know") bitterness, hurt and anger ("Limp") or hopelessness and longing ("Paper Bag") Fiona makes each song resonate with the listener. There is no filler on this album; every single track is amazing and beautiful and poignant in its own right. Fiona's words and music coupled with the genius of Jon Brion's production make for a spectacular album that I'm still not tired of listening to after nearly six years. Buy this album and treat yourself. ...more info
  • Getting extraordinary
    Disclaimer: I heard this one after Apple's 3rd, and latest, album - so, loving the cabaret touches added to Extraordinary Machine (and sharper songwriting), I was a bit let down by When The Pawn.

    The formula is firmly in place, and it's a good one - PlasticOno piano, bitter recriminations, unpredictable metaphors, walloping beats, spooky Chamberlain and retro colors (usually on the coda). It's an intoxicating sound.

    "On The Bound" offers classic aggressive Apple and "Get Gone" gets downright nasty, but my fave is "Paper Bag," with its vulnerable stance and super-startling hook, "Hunger hurts but starving works when it costs too much to love."

    Her influence throughout pop music since the mid-90's is leviathan.
    ...more info
  • often overlooked
    Fiona Apple, in an unfortunate situation, was signed to Sony records during a time in which female singer/songwriters were very popular. Her new album Extraordinary Machine, is shelved because her eclectic sound doesn't sit well with record execs. Another unfortunate situation, the negative publicity surrounding the fantstic album When the Pawn. After Tidal her popularity waned, due to her appearance at the MTV music awards (and famous speech), the long-winded album title, and refusal to comply to a 'popular image'. Apple is a fantastic songwriter. This album's songwriting won't appeal to the masses because most people don't know the meaning of the word "derring-do" or "desideratum" or (from the song To Your Love). But that doesn't mean they should write her off. Her songs are completely original in their unconventional composition and do not mirror the structure of your average 3 minute radio-ready pop song. Her music is refreshing and unique and though the media may have a poor (and ill-conceived) opinion of Fiona Apple, a line should be drawn between a musician as a person and a musician as, well, a musician. (People still buy Michael Jackson records, right? And no one cares that Axl Rose is an 80's metal bratchild)
    This album seemed to get lost among the shuffle surrounding it and maybe no one actually popped it into their stereo and gave it a good, thorough listen. If this album is any indication of what's to (hopefully) come when Extraordinary Machine is released, and Sony Music gets over themselves, I'll pre-order a copy this instant.
    ...more info
  • Her best album, so far...
    Better than her 1st album, if that's possible. She is in constant development in both lyricist and arranger abilities. All songs are great, and Fiona defined the feeling of the late 90s.

    On the Bound is a sensational song, with extreme power and depth. The production is high level, and her voice delivers exactly what we expect from the mood of the song.

    She is a true artist, label that is given so easily by the media these days, to the so called "talents". But not with Fiona, she deserves all acclamation that she got, and much more.

    This is a true masterpiece of modern intelligent music!...more info
  • Just gets better...
    With Tidal being such a strong debut, it was hard to imagine what Apple would dish out next. When The Pawn... is everything Tidal was but more refined. Pretty much what one would anticipate but hardly expect. Her lyrics thankfully haven't softened, ie: Limp, and the album as a whole is a well-rounded production. Looking forward to hear what Ms Apple comes up with next... ...more info
  • fiona is amazing
    the arrangement of the music on this cd is so creative and fiona is such a talented poet. this has been my "cd of the moment" for about a year- i listen to it all of the time. a must have for sure....more info