User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 77 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 74 out of 77
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 77
  3. Negative: 3 out of 77

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  1. Mar 16, 2012
    10
    This album was Fiona coming into her real power. Utilizing heavy and interesting rhythms while using the lower register of the piano brings a dark and, at the same time, funky feel to her music. Her ballads shine even greater than they did on her first album as they move gently and make it difficult to shake the feeling of shear heartbreak. I have not heard a female artist with lyricalThis album was Fiona coming into her real power. Utilizing heavy and interesting rhythms while using the lower register of the piano brings a dark and, at the same time, funky feel to her music. Her ballads shine even greater than they did on her first album as they move gently and make it difficult to shake the feeling of shear heartbreak. I have not heard a female artist with lyrical craft nearly as great as Ms. Apple's. Not only is this album a 10 out of 10, it ranks to be in my top 20 favorite albums of all time. Expand
  2. SRod
    Mar 31, 2009
    10
    Definitely her best, and possibly one of the best albums by a woman ever! Top notch production, mesmerizing arrangements, beautiful and intimate lyrics. Every little thing about 'When the pawn . . ." is brilliant.
  3. RobPep
    Mar 20, 2006
    10
    You may not see it straight the way, but you will end up realising that this is sheer complete genius....... and if you dont your wrong!
  4. ViLa
    May 10, 2009
    10
    10/10 because it is an album that can be listened to over and over again. Such well written lyrics + melodies to go with them, each song being different and unique. Definitely her best album, and the best album for female artists ever! For she embraces what it feels like to be sensitive, angry, loved, betrayed and misunderstood. This album appealed to me personally, it's reassuring 10/10 because it is an album that can be listened to over and over again. Such well written lyrics + melodies to go with them, each song being different and unique. Definitely her best album, and the best album for female artists ever! For she embraces what it feels like to be sensitive, angry, loved, betrayed and misunderstood. This album appealed to me personally, it's reassuring that I'm not the only one who goes through this stage. GO Fiona, you rock. Expand
  5. PatrickM
    Jan 12, 2006
    10
    Incredible. One of the best singer-songwriter albums of all time and definitely the best of the year.
  6. DD
    Jul 23, 2006
    10
    Pure genius, easily in my top 10 albums of all time
  7. JDWilliams
    Sep 25, 2006
    10
    Best Fiona album start to finish! Extraordinary is awesome but i still like When A Pawn better!
  8. BenjaminBunny
    Aug 12, 2003
    8
    A great record from a young talent. Not quite a masterpiece, but proof that she most likely has one in her somewhere.
  9. sM
    Nov 21, 2005
    10
    A work of art. My favorite solo female album. Passionate, eccentric, artistic, original....amazing.
  10. MiKE
    Apr 4, 2005
    10
    This album is flawless, just amazing! Every track is just perfect. Cant wait till Fiona Apple releases her new CD!
  11. SamD
    Mar 20, 2006
    8
    It is a really, really, really good album, but it's still a little short of great...
  12. CLiam
    Apr 28, 2007
    10
    I found that she is exactly extraordinary from this album before listen to "Extraordinary Macine"!
  13. MatthewS
    Dec 12, 2002
    7
    A stronger, more tightly controlled outing than her first. I can only hope that we hear more from Ms. Apple sometime soon . . .
  14. JackieD.
    Sep 6, 2002
    10
    My favorite female album in my collection by far.
  15. PeytonM
    Feb 24, 2003
    10
    I love this album. It's the perfect blend of music and emotion. She tells it like it is . If she pissed you know it. It's beautiful ..Tidal was more sorrowful while When the Pawn is a sort of payback.
  16. katies
    Jun 24, 2003
    10
    this alblum is raw and naked, instead of self pity and holding back tears, she aims for the balls and breaks them off, screaming untill she feels better. If you've ever been passed over, used, abused, or shamed, Fiona Apple knows the pain. this alblum is no shame, well maybe a little, but mostly truth and healing. So raw, so true, so much release, like a lion, she roars! a 10 a this alblum is raw and naked, instead of self pity and holding back tears, she aims for the balls and breaks them off, screaming untill she feels better. If you've ever been passed over, used, abused, or shamed, Fiona Apple knows the pain. this alblum is no shame, well maybe a little, but mostly truth and healing. So raw, so true, so much release, like a lion, she roars! a 10 a definate 10! this will feed your soul Expand
  17. Kristian
    Aug 10, 2003
    10
    Fantastic! Gets better with repeated listening. Although most songs are somewhat inaccessible, all are beautiful in their own right.
  18. GeorgeP
    Apr 13, 2006
    10
    A very good album. Very strong vocally with interesting musical arrangements and a good balance of slow and more upbeat songs.
  19. LizR
    Sep 4, 2006
    10
    Sometimes I put a different CD in my player, and it only makes me realize that there isn't anything better than When the Pawn.
  20. Mike
    Mar 6, 2007
    10
    Fiona Apples best album to date! Much better then Extra ordinary machine, which I found to be a disappointment.
  21. JacquelineP
    Nov 27, 2002
    10
    fiona is amazing, both of her Cd's blow me away every time i listen to them.
  22. AustinA
    Jul 15, 2005
    10
    In her sullen world of lyrical genius, she achieves an amazing feat with this stellar album.
  23. AdamK
    Aug 15, 2005
    10
    great album all around.
  24. RobbieC
    Nov 17, 2006
    10
    The best Fiona album. I think what we all love about this album is Jon Brion, or at least the collaboration between Fiona and Jon Brion. They are absolutely brilliant together. The original Extraordinary Machine was another work of genius and the polished one proved my point.
  25. Hollis
    May 28, 2006
    10
    People think Apple came into her own with Extraordinary Machine, but When the Pawn... is her masterpiece. As a piano frontwoman, she took the risk of not making the piano dominate in what came out to be a very percussion intensive album. The arrangements are lush and fully realized. Where a simple electric guitar would suffice, the songs use strings and horns to create very meaty People think Apple came into her own with Extraordinary Machine, but When the Pawn... is her masterpiece. As a piano frontwoman, she took the risk of not making the piano dominate in what came out to be a very percussion intensive album. The arrangements are lush and fully realized. Where a simple electric guitar would suffice, the songs use strings and horns to create very meaty soundscapes. The lyrics are simply astounding: it's amazing how she doesn't let the confines of rhythm and rhyme interfere with perfect lyrical expression. And that voice: words can't describe. Apple provides a wide range of vocal performances, from lovingly tender to genuinely pissed off to frightenly venerable. This album only gets better with each listen. Expand
  26. richard
    Nov 15, 2008
    10
    Norah jones and alicia keyes can't come close to being this magical in writing songs for the piano. Mad props to fiona and especially to her producer Jon Brion for this gem.
  27. john'kows
    Dec 24, 2002
    10
    I just wanted to take a minute to give my thanks to Fiona.Just for being her and doing what she's doing.I know she won't read this and that just makes me totally frusterated.I just think she should know how much people appreciate her.She probably has some clue because of the number of albums people have bought.But it's not just her music.Don't get me wrong her songs I just wanted to take a minute to give my thanks to Fiona.Just for being her and doing what she's doing.I know she won't read this and that just makes me totally frusterated.I just think she should know how much people appreciate her.She probably has some clue because of the number of albums people have bought.But it's not just her music.Don't get me wrong her songs kick ass.But it's her as a human being that inspires me and keepes me listening for what she has to say next.I don't know,I just hope she neve loses her realness and never loses her connection with her audience. When I first saw the video for shadowboxer, I sat staring motionless at the screen., she is this epitomy of beauty in my eyes, and plus this was the best song I had heard in a long time.Fiona sang the lyrics with such conviction,you couldnt help but feel every word she was saying Expand
  28. Nov 29, 2012
    8
    A very good work. Her voice, her lyrics and the piano make 'When The Pawn...' to a wonderful work. But I can't pick out an excellent song, or at least something that could work alone as a single. Anyway, this album is totally worth hearing and a great experience!
  29. Sep 22, 2013
    10
    This album hits a variety of notes literally and metaphorically The media should take notes from this masterpiece every song is outstanding in its own right. Ranging from Fiona`s piano playing to her amazing voice down to the outright brilliant lyrics not only one of the best single female albums but one of the greatest single albums of all time. 10/10
  30. Feb 17, 2015
    9
    After her first major debut album, totally dramatic and based piano.Fiona realizes that could improve his music following the line criminal.All songs were exceptionally well crafted and and well cared for during production, an album that does not waste a single track and all has its important role.Paper Bag is the most outstanding and deserves space in this review.a brilliant music inAfter her first major debut album, totally dramatic and based piano.Fiona realizes that could improve his music following the line criminal.All songs were exceptionally well crafted and and well cared for during production, an album that does not waste a single track and all has its important role.Paper Bag is the most outstanding and deserves space in this review.a brilliant music in lyrics and sound. had everything to become a phenomenon in the charts. but did not.The whole album had the potential to have been an explosion on the charts, as Adele and Norah Jones, for all the songs here sound like pop/rock hits, just extremely sophisticated.-UNIVERSAL ACCLAIM- Expand
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Fiona's brand of heartache is a welcome, dark respite from the avalanche of popcrap.
  2. Apple's piano trundles, the strings loom, the beats clop; everything, including her throaty voice, has alluring dark circles under it. With their hints of cabaret, tango, and doomed chanteuses, the melodies slither rather than pummel you.
  3. And for her second album of Amos-aping MTV-branded Lilith Fair fodder, the barmiest, prettiest pretender to Tori's throne of corporate crackpot chic deals unashamedly in that tired and trusted heavyweight heart-tugging currency: relationships.