When The Pawn... - Fiona Apple
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 69 Ratings

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  • Summary: The full title of this sophomore effort from the 22-year-old singer-songwriter runs a whopping 90 words: When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He'll Win the Whole Thing 'Fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and if You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and if You Fall It Won't Matter, 'Cuz You'll Know That You're Right. Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. 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.
  2. Pawn is immediately grabbing, and instead of fading upon further plays, it reveals more with each listen, whether it's a lyrical turn of phrase or an unexpected twist in the arrangement.
  3. When the Pawn Hits ... is so good that the next album could have a 900-word title and I wouldn't even scratch my goatee.
  4. On Pawn she chooses to rock, but in her own unique swinging way. Her songs are not ballads, but epics of rock, classical and postmodern music.
  5. has the talent, not to mention the fame and fortune, to seclude herself from the big bad world ahead of her. But Fiona II makes you hope that she'll find a way to use her talent as a connection to the world instead. Because she's an artist who deserves a shot at growing up.
  6. Forget the brattiness and occasional lunacy that succeeded Tidal's ascent to hit status. This is the work of an adult artist, and onethat's going to be sticking around.
  7. 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.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 29
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 29
  3. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Mar 16, 2012
    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 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. Sep 22, 2013
    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 Expand
  3. Nov 29, 2012
    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! Expand

See all 29 User Reviews