Follow TV Tropes


Music / Fiona Apple

Go To

"This world is bullshit."
— From her 1997 MTV Video Music Award acceptance speech

Fiona Apple McAfee-Maggart (born September 13, 1977) is an American singer-songwriter and pianist.

Apple gained worldwide acclaim for her 1996 debut album, Tidal, which was an overall debut album success. At the age of nineteen she received a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

After Tidal, Apple's next albums were also critical and commercial successes, though in the latter area not as much as her first. Over the years the singer has maintained a unique sound with mixes of jazz, rock and soul.


  • Tidal (1996)
  • When The Pawn... (1999) Full Title 
  • Extraordinary Machine (2005)
  • The Idler Wheel... (2012) Full Title 
  • Fetch the Bolt Cutters (2020)


  • Award-Bait Song: A quite unorthodox one, Dull Tool was written for Judd Apatow's This Is 40 and is therefore eligible for a 2012 Oscar-nomination.
  • Big Applesauce: She was born and raised in New York City although she's lived in Los Angeles since the late 90's.
  • Careful with That Axe: The Idler Wheel has Fiona's most vicious vocals to date, but everything before pales in comparison to the demented howl she lets out on "Regret":
    Oh, I ran out of white dove feathers, to soak up the hot piss that comes through your mouth, every time you address me!
  • Cover Version: Buddy Holly's "Everyday", Cy Coleman's "Why Try To Change Me Now" and "I Walk A Little Faster", "Sally's Song" from The Nightmare Before Christmas, Elvis Costello's "I Want You", and the most well known one, The Beatles "Across The Universe". She also does a range of jazz-standards when performing live. On the other hand, her own song "Criminal" is very popular with others.
  • Destructive Romance: "Werewolf" could be the theme-song:
    But you were such a super guy, 'til the second you get a wiff of me
    We're like a wishing well and a bolt of electricity
    But we can still support each other, all we gotta do is avoid each other
    Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key...
  • Dissonant Serenity: The music video for Fiona's cover version of "Across The Universe" shows her with headphones on, singing serenely within a rampaging crowd of hooligans.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Fiona really loves dogs, especially pitbulls, and has owned a few over the years. She even included some of her dog Mercy's barks in "Fetch The Bolt Cutters".
  • Hope Spot: "Paper Bag". Fiona is having a crappy day and spots a white dove in the sky, thinking this is a sign of better things to come she gets incredibly optimistic. But alas:
    But as it came down near, so did a weary tear; I thought it was a bird but it was just a paper bag...
  • Intercourse with You: "Hot Knife". Fiona has found someone that makes her feel many things, including excited and feisty...
  • Looped Lyrics: Common on Fetch the Bolt Cutters. A special shout out to "On I Go" which repeats the below lines fourteen times, with nine of those at the start.
    On I go, not toward or away
    Up until now it was day, next day
    Up until now in a rush to prove
    But now I only move to move
  • One-Woman Song: "Shameika" was written as a tribute to a friendly classmate of hers.
  • Loudness War: Unfortunately, all her albums except for The Idler Wheel... have mastering that don't do them justice. Fetch The Bolt Cutters in particular sounds like a flattened mess.
  • Poe's Law: Not everyone realized that the video for Criminal was satire and lambasted her for promoting the very thing she criticized elsewhere. The digs at her weight were especially unfortunate since Fiona was at the time severely anorexic.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Under the Table", "Relay" and "On I Go" from her 2020 album, Fetch the Bolt Cutters, contain at least one.
  • Questionable Consent: “For Her” is about a friend of hers who was manipulated into a relationship with an older, married executive while she was an intern at film production company. It took said friend a long time to come to grips with the fact that she was assaulted because she couldn’t tell him no due to the power imbalance.
  • Rape as Backstory: "Sullen Girl" was about her assault at 12 outside her home.
  • Scatting: The ending of "I Want You to Love Me" has her breaking out into dolphin-like vocals.
  • Self-Deprecation: The gist of her work concerns her own personal issues, often in a cheery fashion ("Better Version of Me", "Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song)").
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Has acknowledged a fondness for obscure and exotic words, from Left Alone:
    You made your major overtures, when you were a sure and orotund mutt
    And I was still a dewy petal, rather than a moribund slut
    • And "Not About Love":
    Conversation once colored by esteem, became duologue as a diagram of a play for blood
    Took a vacation, my palate got clean
    Now I could taste your agenda, while you're spitting your cud
  • Singer-Songwriter
  • Solemn Ending Theme: "Where the Shadows Lie" for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: This rather poetic putdown from Regret:
    I ran out of white dove feathers, to soak up the hot piss that comes through your mouth
  • Split Screen: Used to draw attention to the differing vocal parts in "Hot Knife"'s music video.
  • Stage Name: Averted. Her full name is Fiona Apple McAfee Maggart.
  • Stealth Pun: Fiona has admitted in interviews that titling her first album Tidal is one. In most American Accents, "tidal" and "title" are homophones.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Her petite frame and youthful appearance are a very striking contrast to her exceptionally deep and sultry voice, particularly in her early career.
  • Wham Line: "For Her" offers quite a contrasting and jarring example.
    Well, good morning. Good morning
    You raped me in the same bed your daughter was born in.