Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. 100
    This is one helluva piece of singer-songwriter art. [Nov 2005, p.129]
  2. The cleaner take on Extraordinary Machine is like a trip to a less cluttered haunted house, and Apple's more nuanced delivery sticks the knife in, but slowly. It's both charming and devastating. [7 Oct 2005, p.72]
  3. With Extraordinary Machine, she shatters already sky-high expectations.
  4. Although Mike Elizondo adds momentum, Jon Brion's colors still predominate, and the melodic and structural contours are all Apple's.
  5. Extraordinary Machine may be more accessible, but it remains an art-pop album in its attitude, intent and presentation -- it's just that the presentation is cleaner, making her attitude appealing and her intent easier to ascertain, and that's what makes this final, finished Extraordinary Machine something pretty close to extraordinary.
  6. It's another solid set of passionate, angry, marvelously produced songs delivered by a singular voice, and it succeeds by following a muse that doesn't just ignore genre distinctions and pop delineations—it doesn't know they exist.
  7. The title track and "Waltz" bookend Extraordinary Machine. Both excel, set to Brion's signature command of crisp, idiomatic, Van Dyke Parks-influenced Hollywood symphonics. But the Elizondo-Kehew tracks top them.
  8. There's a new layer of perspective on her magnificent third album. [3 Oct 2005]
  9. This is a frequently great and occasionally bold statement from an - extraordinary - artist on top of her game.
  10. 80
    A fine, off-beat listen. [Jan 2006, p.124]
  11. 80
    There's now a sardonic wit to these break-up ballads. [Dec 2005, p.120]
  12. With its prowling, piano-led menace and barely contained fury, Extraordinary Machine offers ample confirmation that Apple is far darker than your average singer-songwriter. [Jan 2006, p.126]
  13. Apple's strongest and most detailed batch of songs yet.
  14. In a genre hardly noted for springing surprises on its listeners, Extraordinary Machine sounds like a real achievement: however torturous the gestation, it seems worthwhile.
  15. For every song that's been improved there's one that's been unnecessarily tooled with.
  16. Apart the two versions are about equal, combined they could have been amazing.
  17. With a less confessional and more confrontational attitude, this long-gestating album has lost the tenderness found on "Tidal" and some of "When the Pawn . . .," but her execution still commands attention. [8 Oct 2005]
  18. She’s clever and sharp with her lyrical daggers, and she’s frighteningly aware of the impact of her own voice.
  19. 75
    Elizondo's zippy production effectively pushes Apple's tendency to plod. [Nov 2005, p.96]
  20. Lurches spectacularly from lounge-jazz to avant-vaudeville and takes a pop at everything in between. [14 Jan 2006, p.34]
  21. Not only have Brion’s strings been replaced by an indescribably awkward alt-rock guitar riff and a misplaced drum beat, but Apple’s vocals have lost all of their bite and passion. On Brion’s work, she seemed hungry, ready to get back into it all. Here she retains the emotion that such a talented singer can muster on a good day but none of the rawness that signifies her best work.
  22. If the back end didn't sag, this cyborg would be unstoppable.
  23. Her voice has grown huskier with age, the songs are barely there, and hip-hop producer Mike Elizondo doesn't have the delicate hand that's required to bring them to life.
  24. Lacking both the musical and counter-cultural thrill of the Brion recordings, this album turns away from a certain artistic "rawness" in the original recordings, razing away counter-melodies and acoustic decay for a well-polished delivery that presents the photogenic songstress in a more "flattering" light.
  25. The officially released version of Extraordinary Machine remains a decent-to-good album, one that showcases Apple's considerable vocal and key-pounding talents.... The shame of it all is that Apple, after six years of silence, could've made a more definitive, progressive statement rather than something familiar and similar-- and we've got the bootlegs to prove it.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 161 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 93 out of 105
  2. Negative: 7 out of 105
  1. BrianM
    Oct 3, 2005
    are they crazy? jon brion's production added an extra dimension to this "machine"... but the new production simply sounds boring.
  2. Jul 10, 2012
    I've always known about Fiona Apple, but never gave her the light of day. Hype is an evil thing. The hype surrounding this album however isI've always known about Fiona Apple, but never gave her the light of day. Hype is an evil thing. The hype surrounding this album however is 100% accurate, it's a fantastic album. Every track is sung with such beautiful honesty from Apple that you really can understand what she's feeling and what she's been through. I love this album with a such a passion. A Full Review »
  3. Mar 12, 2012
    I found this album/CD at the record shop in brand new condition. I didn't buy it originally for certain reasons, but now that I have it, II found this album/CD at the record shop in brand new condition. I didn't buy it originally for certain reasons, but now that I have it, I can't stop playing it. I enjoy this album much more than Fiona Apple's previous albums - although those are very good also. There's something about this album that makes for good listening. The overall sound is lighter than her older material, but it has an easy flow which is very enjoyable. Pitchfork needs to loosen up a little. They are so anal - this album is much better than a 6.2 rating. I give it an "8" which stands for almost excellent. I am so sorry I didn't look for this album when it first came out. Full Review »