The Idler Wheel Is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do Image

Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 200 Ratings

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  • Summary: The singer-songwriter began recording her fourth studio album in secret in 2008 or 2009.
  • Record Label: Epic
  • Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Jun 19, 2012
    It's essential 2012 listening for anyone interested in popular music as art.
  2. Jun 19, 2012
    The result is an album that was absolutely worth the seven-year wait, not to mention the mountain of hype atop which Apple has sat since her big comeback at SXSW in March.
  3. Jun 22, 2012
    Another singular album from a truly idiosyncratic voice, Apple has once again invited us into her lushly conflicted inner monologue.
  4. Jun 25, 2012
    In The Idler Wheel's ten phenomenal songs, Fiona Apple seems to lay everything out on the table.
  5. Dec 20, 2012
    It's an album that demands something of the listener, but rewards it in spades.
  6. Jun 25, 2012
    It's a hyper-vivid and intensely musical affair that takes us deep inside Apple's skittish, fretful mind. [Jul 2012, p.82]
  7. Jun 19, 2012
    Half of the album is magnificent, and stylistically contradistinct, while the other half exists in some offbeat and off-putting terrain that will either elude its listeners, or alienate them.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 50
  2. Negative: 4 out of 50
  1. 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) Expand
  2. 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. Collapse
  3. 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!! Expand
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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. Expand
  7. 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

See all 50 User Reviews

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