User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 207 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 207

Review this album

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. Jun 19, 2012
    I say with zero hesitation or exaggeration that this record is a masterpiece. Sometimes when I'm listening to the Idler Wheel I need to get up and punch the air and jump on top of things. I mean, it's an incredibly strong emotional and physical reaction. She has punched me in the gut and I'm still winded.
  2. Jun 19, 2012
    This is the first 10 I've give out all year, and the 10 I've been compelled to write about. This magnificent album never ceases to expel beautifully unstable poetry over riveting and compelling songwriting. Fiona has really outdone herself. Waste no more time reading reviews, spend it with this album instead, for it is surely the album of the year (of the apocalypse), if there ever was one.
  3. Jun 20, 2012
    Surprisingly much better than I thought it would be, deep lyrics with a impressively low and raw production that still manages to get much emotion across. Well worth your money, I doubt anything this year will be this good.
  4. Jun 24, 2012
    After 7 years of waiting "The Idler Wheel..." released, and when you listened to it you get that it worth seven years of waiting. in her new album she's stronger and fearless than ever. it's more emotional and also her lyrics improved much more than her previous records but as same as her old stuff it's not easy to understand. welcome back Ms. Apple.
  5. Jun 19, 2012
    "The Idler Wheel" shows what music is in a purely artistic manner. Not written to contain a top 40 hit, or buy another car or house... but to convey an emotional response from the listener. The raw nature of the songs somehow seems to leave less to mask what it is being expressed in each song. It's not something I would consider "accessible" to the pop community, but any musician or really any true artist should be able to appreciate what this album is and what it brings to the table. Expand
  6. Jun 29, 2012
    All I can say is that Fiona Apple has been gone for a long time but her comeback is untouchable, for an album to be this good and have very little promotion is not heard off. Album of the Year contender for sure.
  7. Jun 24, 2012
    everyone who's familiar with the music of Fiona's, knows what she's able to deliver. She is definitely back , - with a more intimate and tricky album. Fiona is one of those artists you'd wait for no matter how long it takes for her to come up with a piece of art. "The Idler Wheel.." is a story of hers - therefore it isn't an album about you - for once, a record that's about the artist herself. " An artistic, sarcastic & strong biography of Apple you can say". The album is a masterpiece. Fiona is very intelligent and talented, and knows when it's times to put up another record. (7 years - and we've got it). The Idler Wheel may be the best album over the past 12 years. You will have to listen to this album more than once. (Be patient with Fiona - she's worth it). I can't pick a favourite on The Idler Wheel because they're all strong and important. 10/10 Expand
  8. Jun 23, 2012
    This album is a game changer. Most of Fiona's albums feel that way but this one is particularly so. Its brooding and intense and by contrast also whimsical and free spirited. To call this album sparse wouldn't necessarily be a misnomer but upon multiple cursory listens you begin to hear the subtle nuances in the arrangements both vocal and musical tempered by all of the unique found sound samples (children screaming, bottle factory, foot dragging on gravel). Charlie Drayton has proven a perfect music counterpart to Fiona. He adds unique percussive touches without ever drowning out Fiona's voice and piano. As much as I LOVE Jon Brion, he tended to do with with his everything and the kitchen sink production flourishes. This is Fiona's most emotionally naked album yet. Not to mention there are even some vulgarities in the lyrics. They are never there for the sake of being there though. They serve their illustrative purpose. "I ran out of white dove feathers to soak up the hot piss that comes from your mouth every time you address me." Talk about lacerating lyrical venom. The album feels like the purest form Fiona has taken while there are still nods to work past. The discordant piano line running through "Jonathan" is a dead ringer for the equally discordant piano in the Jon Brion version of "Oh Sailor". Its ominous and foreboding while also adding a touch of whimsy. Album closer "Hot Knife" is little else than the rumble of tympani drums and layers upon layers of Fionas vocals with her sister Maude Maggart (cabaret prodigy) on high harmony. The effect is dizzying, confounding and most importantly ecstatic. With this album Fiona has reconciled with her part in every breakup shes had while also touching on the inner workings of a brain that simply refuses to slow down. As a long time fan this album feels like a culmination. Like Fiona has just reached the peak of her Kilimanjaro, but all of her past records felt that way too. Even if it takes another 7 years for the next album, I simply cannot wait to see how she's able to once again raise the bar for herself and her peers. Expand
  9. Jun 29, 2012
    O que falar de um álbum como o de Fiona Apple? Genial? Esquizofrênico? Brilhante? Insano? Que tal: tudo isso e mais um pouco.

    Desde que foi revelada em 1996 com o aclamado Tidal, Fiona se tornou uma das "rainhas" do mundo indie apesar do sucesso no mundo mainstream. Uma artista complexa em todas as suas características, Fiona ficou sete anos sem lançar um
    trabalho (o último foi em 2005 com Extraordinary Machine). Esse ano ela resolver sair da toca e lançar The Idler Wheel... (outra característica dela são os nomes gigantescos para os álbuns) que vem recebendo as melhores criticas da impressa especializada no ano até agora. E devo dizer que merece, mesmo não sendo exatamente fã. The Idler Wheel... não é para todos. Fique claro isso, pois quem só curte eletropop e CIA vai achar uma merda a sonoridade minimalista de Fiona. Nisso é que o álbum encontra seu maior brilho na construção impecável de arranjos impressionantes que usam e abusam de sons e instrumentos inusitados para criar uma excepcional, intrigada e poderosa rede de sonoridades. Esse ano vai ser difícil ver um artista tão preocupado em ir além do que se pode ir e chegar um pouco mais além do que a gente imagina. Devo dizer que fiquei boiando um pouco nas complexas composições de Fiona, mas aos poucos as texturas de cada canção vão ganhando forma na minha cabeça. Trabalho provocante e de inteligência refinada. Vocalmente, Fiona não precisa de muita coisa para se encaixar no meio dessa loucura. Dona de uma voz poderosa que poderia ser usada para pop de primeira qualidade, mas Fiona não se entrega nada para o caminho fácil. Performances avassaladoras e cheias de personalidades em cada canção. Não tem com ressaltar faixas como melhores, pois The Idler Wheel... é um trabalho para ser escutado inteiro. Depois você pode escolher qual adjetivo melhor se encaixa para a definição do trabalho de Fiona. Contudo, uma coisa é certa: não é um trabalho para ser esquecido. Expand
  10. Jun 24, 2012
    THE IDLER... is one the most overrated albums that i counl hear in my entire life, its a completely waste of time try to understand every song that conposed this album, i love Fiona's interpretation but the album like a whole thing don't convince me, maybe is the meaningless lyrics or the awful and akward rithm, i cannot say more of this album, never will be a masterpiece like Adele's 21, recently named one of the best album ever play by a female singer, this is that i call a good album, I'm sorry Fiona, good luck to the next try. Expand
  11. Jun 25, 2012
    I am floored. This is Fiona's "art" album. Everyone thought it was Extraordinary Machine, which, while good, was kind of a hot mess. I mean, the leaks, the re-workings, the misunderstandings that led to the Free Fiona protests, "Window" and "Please Please Please" sounding so overworked that they were ultimately overwrought, etc. To put simply, that album that everyone freaked out over, and was such a masterpiece, is completely eclipsed by this cohesive, complete, sonically and emotionally jarring piece of work. No one is making records like this any more. No one but Fiona Apple. Expand
  12. Oct 6, 2012
    An album made ​​for people who can understand it, their low sales refer to mass culture imposed by the media. Don't sold much because much of the current population is not able to interpret it, to understand what it means and were guided to hearing songs completely different and boring like Nicki Minaj and Rihanna, even the strange Adole. Too bad for those who reject this masterpiece, because they are having a chance to completely change your viewpoint about anything just hearing the ten tracks that make up the best album of the year. Expand
  13. Aug 29, 2012
    Great album! She hasn't publishing any CDs for seven years, but "The Idler Wheel..." (what a long title!) is worth the wait! With no exageration, I can easily say this is gonna be the best album of 2012 so far!
  14. Oct 10, 2012
    Fiona can do no wrong. Every song on this album is absolutely breathtaking. Her emotion, her songwriting, everything is perfectly captured in these songs. The thing that makes this record stand apart from the rest of her work is how stripped-down and focused each song is. This is truly Fiona's masterpiece.
  15. Jan 4, 2013
    Nevermind the album title; Fiona Apple has delivered one of the best albums to come out of 2012. Simply dripping with raw emotion and gut, you can feel Fiona's pain, heartache and suffering on every song as she pours her heart and soul out onto these masterpieces. Sonically the album is fascinating, as Fiona blends traditional drums, piano and occasionally bass with oddball percussion that will boggle the mind. My only criticism is that Fiona should try to release albums more frequently; 7 years is too long for someone of her caliber! Expand
  16. Jun 25, 2012
    I enjoy listening to this album very much. She's doing things she hasn't done before and the results are just wonderful. Genius! So far, best album of the year!!!
  17. Jun 19, 2012
    At first, I couldn't quite understand why this album had received such high praise, but after a couple of listens I really began to appreciate the obscure beauty hidden under Apple's wonderful vocal acrobatics. While there is a perfect blend of obscurity and relatability in the song writing and instrumentation, there is also a perfect blend of power and delicacy appropriately placed in Apple's vocal arrangements. It's not quite perfect, because at times I was longing for something with more energy, but I rarely become engaged by albums that don't conventionally evolve. Good work. Expand
  18. Jul 22, 2012
    I had to really devote a lot of my time to this album but it was completely worth it. Apple almost makes an album that's better than Extraordinary Machine, almost. Each track is beautifully written and sung with raw emotion. All in All, The Idler Wheel... is a fantastic album. A-
  19. Jun 19, 2012
    A Remarkable album on every single musical level. Last year PJ Harvey brought out 'Let England Shake' where Mike Williams of the NME stated "Francis Ford Coppola can lay claim to the war movie. Ernest Hemingway the war novel. Polly Jean Harvey, a 41-year-old from Dorset, has claimed the war album,"

    With this album Fiona Apple captures the greatest break-up album we will ever hear. Every
    one of this albums 10 tracks is remarkable and each song will leave an indelible imprint in your mind forever.

    Its not often that an album with this much hype live's up to all the anticipation, but it most certainly does. Its the album that will remain strong forever. It will never get week. It will always be able to be played and its verver will resonate in your heart whenever you need to feel the love of great music.

    I give this album a 10 out of 10 as it will certainly be in my top 10 albums of 2012 list.

    My words cannot express enough how worthwhile it is to experience this album right this very second!
  20. np6
    Oct 3, 2012
    Great musical achievement! For me, this is the second best album of the year after Frank Ocean's "Channel Orange". This is a lot better than anything Fiona has released so far. Try it!
  21. Jul 23, 2012
    It IS indeed a nice album but not as great as her first two records... It lacks the passionate chords from Tidal and the emotional lyrics from When the Pawn.. The music from the 90s is way too superior to simply compare it with the effortless results artists are coming with nowadays...
  22. Jul 23, 2012
    As you can see 7 years means a lot to her because that was the process of the album's entitlement. And at the same time waiting 7 years doesn't mean anything to her while being absent.

    On this album, Fiona's obsessive experiences & interpersonal analogies pulls notable percussion instruments which seem to be more like her guide to create musical exotic patterns.There is a lack of
    harmony missing intentionally but instead of that she gives every character its own intention. First one her piano: in some songs its pretty simple and almost nonexistent but in others it sounds more like a desperate monotonous tune repeating just like a constant thought on her mind. Her voice is emotionally over felt and she dares to place in all songs every set of words she needs to say. Drums & percussion are surprisingly environmental in some songs and multi-rhythmical in others going mostly by its own or following the piano. Really well executed.

    Of course its hard to understand some of her lyrics but these type of artists remind us that there has to be a richness in music as well on the lyrics to appreciate their work.
  23. Jun 23, 2012
    After my first listen to the album, I hate it!!! It was nothing like Fiona Apples previous work. After giving it a chance and listening to it, I started notcing how special this album is! This is her best Album to date! very very deep! The more you listen to it, the more grand it gets! amazing!!! 10 out of 10 stars!!
  24. Jul 13, 2012
    It's not a easy album to listen and understand. But when it flows inside your head, you feel every and each intention of hers in each music. It's mesmerizing the way she sings, and the songwriting is the best since 'Tidal'. The only low points is the voice tone that is too much changeable. She remains bold and sharp for the (good) music industry. Best ones are "Hot Knife", "Every Single Night" and "Werewolf". Expand
  25. Jan 9, 2014
    Firstly, I'm not going to compare this to any of Apple's previous work. What strikes me most about "The Idler Wheel" is the consistent vibe it gives off. While its 10 tracks are all quite distinct and individual pieces, the songs integrate together excellently and every line of every song feels like it belongs to this album and this album only.

    The sort inverted jazz-rock style creates
    an uneasy atmosphere across the record and matches the lyrical content perfectly. The music and vocal delivery are almost like a mirror image of what I would imagine her nervous system must be like when experiencing sound difficulties during a gig. I wasn't sure what to expect from this album but I'm impressed and can only see myself growing to like it more as time passes. If I'm to pick out highlights they would be "Left Alone" and "Periphery" but the whole record fits together so well that these songs sound best when listened to during the album rather than in isolation. An album well worth checking out - having had the radio saturated with Adele for the past 2 years - music like this shows what a lady can really do with a piano. Expand
  26. Jul 23, 2012
    Honestly, if you are on the fence with Fiona Apple, listen to "Hot Knife". This song showcases all of her talent in one song. I can't express how happy I am that this record is among us and how great it was composed with Fiona's wonderful jazzy pop style and a wide variety of songs that all sound like a new experience. Great job Fiona, definitely worth the wait.
  27. Jun 22, 2012
    The lyrics are sharp and heart-felt and the arrangements are beautiful and original. I hadn't come across the artist but wil definitely now check out her other albums.
  28. Jun 22, 2012
    I know that almost everyone said that this is the "Album of the Year" and whatsoever, but honestly I just can't get into this kind of music.
    It's like she's just singing (or maybe just screaming or whining) to some random chords and notes with some tingling piano and percussion, and that's all. Nothing really "wow"-es me.

    But it still has some interesting sounds, though.
  29. Jul 29, 2012
    Fiona provides that raw emotion like not many others can. Even within a roller-coaster of songs who do not "play it safe" and various different scenarios. Poetry fusions with powerful voice and grinding sounds from the beautiful voice of a songwriter and truly complete artist.
  30. Jun 19, 2012
    Fiona is a goddess !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this album is amazing :) not as good as Tidal but better than Extraordinary Machine (even tho its also really good)
  31. Jun 19, 2012
    Just a perfect and beautiful album! So intense and raw and poetic ! Perfect music, perfect voice, perfect lyrics and also perfect artwork: Fiona Apple is really a complete artist.
  32. Jun 20, 2012
    I thought I was going to be disappointed by this album, because (1) it's a critical darling (90/100) and (2) her other music has had years and years to change in me from songs to therapeutic relativity. But the critics were right, and I'm eating this album with my ears as if a painkiller. The minimal percussion,piano, and outside noise combined with her voice sometimes levitated, but quick to ease to guttural is a shock to the system. I've never heard someone exist so much. Expand
  33. Jun 20, 2012
    "The Idler Wheel..." is a fantastic album, and is probably one of the best albums I have heard in a long time. The most ecletic album of hers, incorporates her soulful voice with the haunting piano chords and those mystical painful lyrics. With every fiber of her being, Apple spews out glorifying remedies needed to mend a broken heart or help you fall in love. After the "Extraordinary Machine" made me believe she wasn't angry anymore and her troubled phase was over, this brought me back to being a mega fan. Please listen to this album. I highly recommend it. Collapse
  34. Jun 20, 2012
    Most of Fiona's past albums were surrounded with a great deal of controversy, which caused her to take two very long career breaks. With The Idler Wheel, the creation process was kept very secretive, and Fiona was thus able to create an incredibly personal and intimate album without any record label pressures. And the verdict is in: she was successful. Vocally, she takes new leaps, both shouting and borderline screaming certain passages. Among the lighthearted piano-rock segments, these emphases create a shocking contrast that both shock and engage the listener. As the album title would indicate, the lyrical work on this record is masterful. When the vocal parts are so blatantly highlighted, the lyrics truly stand out, showcasing a vast vocabulary, crystal-clear imagery, and (probably) a handful of relationship-themed innuendos. Overall, Fiona's former style remains the central core of The Idler Wheel, but her refinements of all aspects pushes her to near-perfection. Expand
  35. Jun 22, 2012
    Clearly, I'm in minority on this one. I adore Fiona, and could not wait for her to give me a whole bunch of new songs to fall in love with, but this album is a massive misfire for me. I've had it for 3 days now and have listened from start to finish about 20 times....and no matter how hard I try to love it, I just find it utterly frustrating. Maybe it's a grower, but as of right now, I doubt it. Yes, I applaud her artistic risks, and admire the direction she has taken herself with this album, but the bottom line for me is that I can't find a single track on here that I would add to my "Best of the Bitter" playlist. Unlike her previous work, I can't sing along to any of it. I'm truly heart broken over this. I know she could relate. Expand
  36. Jun 26, 2012
    Sit with this one for a bit, because its a grower. The first few listens may be a bit frustrating or underwhelming. But then you realize it's only because you're looking for a certain type of song. Soon the melodies flow and the lyrics sink in. The stark contrast between her past work and this new collection makes it even better. Fiona Apple is clearly pushing herself, with new vocal harmonies she hasn't sang before over far more minimal instrumentation than ever, and it works. I love this album. The more i listen to it, the better it is. The catchiest numbers for any that are curious are- "Every Single Night," "Periphery," and "Anything We Want." But these aren't even necessarily the best, give the album a few listens as a whole and you'll see what i mean. Amazing work. Expand
  37. Nov 30, 2012
    Actually, the title is the most interesting and creative thing about the album. I admit that this lady is a goddess in phrasing but despite that, the songs are boring. It is nice to hear and to look at the lyrics and what's behind them, but after doing that one time it gets pretty insipid. None of the songs could be a single and they're all just a bunch of poems with strange tunes. Additionally Apple distorts her voice in a horrible way so often on this release. Not really good. Expand
  38. PMN
    Aug 5, 2012
    I have been a fan of Fiona Apple from the very beginning back in 1996. The Idler Wheel is easily the LEAST accessible of her four albums, and although there were a couple of tracks that engaged me almost immediately (Valentine and Werewolf in particular), it took at least 20 listens to the full album, uninterrupted, before it finally 'clicked' for me. Now that it has, I can honestly say I think it is her finest work. Expand
  39. Aug 19, 2012
    Full of emotion, powerful lyrics, amazing voice (very different than her older albums!! it's still strong, but in a very different way!) I am addicted to this album. Every. Single. Song. I don't understand how anybody could not enjoy this music, it's just too great!
  40. Sep 4, 2012
    This album has lead me to the conclusion that what I actually like (or liked) about Fiona is the influence of Jon Brion. Without him, she produces unfocussed, poorly structured and unsatisfying music. I appreciate the experimental harmonic language, but it just sits there and doesn't go anywhere interesting. I did like the track 'Jonathon', which did feel like it had some guts, depth and structure, but the rest was just a mess. I'm not sure what happened with Brion, but I sure wish they would patch things up and make music as good as they did on Pawn and Extraordinary Machine (The Brion version). Severely disappointed. Expand
  41. Oct 3, 2012
    It's quirky and it's not an easy listen but it's nothing short of amazing and it deserves every 10/10 it gets, I can almost guarantee there'll be nothing better to listen to until her next album !
  42. Jan 23, 2013
    The Idler Wheel is an incredibly mature work of art, taking the few musical resources at hand and using them to absolute perfection. This album must not be missed.
  43. Feb 6, 2013
    I grew up around the spectacular talent that is Fiona Apple. Her first album came out two years prior to my birth, so from practically day one I've been with her. And I love it. I love her insanity, I love her attitude, I love the sadness and the anger and the feeling that she has. The greatest part of this album is that it's all there and on display for anyone. I very honestly believe the only way you can't like this album is if you haven't experienced real, true to the heart pain, or if you don't like to enter someone's mind as deeply as you do with this album. Apple leads us on a dark, deep, terrifying journey through her inner thoughts and it's something you'll never forget. My Favorite Songs {in order}:

    - Werewolf: I don't like to say this, but 'Werewolf' is essentially perfect. It's sad and looming, but her voice is so strong and pained. It's very, very Fiona and very, very wonderful. From the first time I heard it, I fell in love and haven't stopped listening to it since.

    - Every Single Night: This song is all about strength and going from just a step above whispering to full force. The lyrics are not only hypnotic, but stunningly beautiful and as poetic as you can get.

    - Anything We Want: I adore this song because of it's simplicity. It's Fiona and a little bit of background exactly how I love her. Daredevil: This song is strong and powerful. It has energy and she really goes all out with her insturments in a great, understated way.

    - Hot Knife: There isn't much to say about this song except that it's wonderfully sexy, and is far from anything in any genre. It really takes on it's own sound.

    - Left Alone: The lyrics are perfect. Absolutely riveting. Not to mention the overall sound of it all it's just wonderful. Everything goes together just as it should.

    - Valentine Johnathan Regret: These three songs are all of the same sad, generally deep and painful sound. Fiona cries her heart out to get the sound and it shows that emotion is much, much better raw in music.

    - Periphery: Even though this is listed as last, it's still one of very favorite songs of all time. It's strong and gets stuck in your head like you wouldn't believe.

    All in all, I personally believe this album will be one of my favorites from the day I bought it to the day I die. It's timless, beautful, striking and painful at times. It's not meant to be smooth and pretty, it's meant to be an emotional ride and damn, that's exactly what it is.
  44. Feb 7, 2013
    This album is a masterpiece. It is a work of genius. Though it is more stripped down than her other records, it is more in depth sounding. She holds absolutely nothing back through her voice which shows traces of old time jazz, rock, and just flat out screaming. She matches the incredible diverse vocals with amazing lyricism on every single song that will make you think, laugh, and cry. And then their is the instrumentation which is just brilliant. Her piano playing has become something else. She still plays jazz type chords in her signature thumping blues style but it is so much more of a thing on it's own now.The piano and percussion work brilliantly together and express moods just as well as her insanely intellectual lyrics.Very few artists could pull an album like this off, you'd have to be genius to come up with this and know it would work. She is without a doubt a genius. Expand
  45. Mar 11, 2013
    This album is simply amazing. Wash your ears (don't forget the Q-tips), sit down in a comfortable ambient environment, and put some ear buds or headphones in and just listen.... You will not experience the full grandeur of this fantastic studio album if you are multitasking; the lyrics and vocals, along with all other instruments and measures, intertwine so well that it would be disrespectful to do otherwise! Enjoy! Expand
  46. Oct 22, 2013
    This is actually one of my favourite albums of the year. It has everything from great songwriting, hard hitting personal lyrics, great instrumentation especially the percussion, and a voice which is so expressive and full of emotion. You can also tell that she experiments with her music and the sounds she's making but also sticks to her original signature sound that made her so great in the past. She's amazing! Expand
  47. Oct 17, 2013
    I would never consider myself a Fiona Apple fan. Prior to this album, I found her quite self indulgent, annoying. This album took me a long time to come around...but when it finally did, WOW, its absoultely brilliant.
  48. Aug 6, 2014
    Arguably her best album since Tidal, The Idler Wheel takes what was so good about that one and bumps the knob up on the intensity and honesty factor while letting Miss Apple get more loose and unleashed. This album aches, swells, undulates, and roils you with all its boiling emotion; this burn feels good.
  49. Sep 26, 2014
    This album really surprised me! "The Idler Wheel..." was the fist album by Fiona Apple that I listened and I was like "What's this?"! Her voice is amazing and I cannot talk how much feelings I felt when I listen I all time. I don't know if it is the best, but I really love it. ♥

Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Dec 20, 2012
    It's an album that demands something of the listener, but rewards it in spades.
  2. An album that's damn catchy after all.
  3. Jul 19, 2012
    Still the same Fiona Apple: bigger than "all the fishes in the sea."