• Record Label: Epic
  • Release Date: Apr 17, 2020
Metascore
98

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 26
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 26
  3. Negative: 0 out of 26
Buy On
  1. Apr 22, 2020
    100
    On a purely musical level, it’s a bold experiment in pop craft, a collection of songs on which Apple stretches her talents in adventurous new directions. ... Fetch the Bolt Cutters is Apple’s most timely—and timeless—effort yet.
  2. Apr 20, 2020
    100
    Fiona Apple’s Fetch The Bolt Cutters is a triumphant and very well-timed return after an eight-year hiatus. Apple’s fifth album, an introspective, 13 song journey defies genre. ... Fetch The Bolt Cutters takes many exciting turns. The album exudes freedom, it exudes breaking constraints, it exudes Fiona Apple, and it might just be the album that we look back on when we think back to this COVID-19 era.
  3. 100
    Some albums are worthy of such electric apprehension, and the chains leashing this poetic, wit-filled, ramshackle beauty should be broken. Fuck it. Fetch the bolt cutters. This feels special.
  4. Apr 17, 2020
    100
    “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” is daring in a new way, scrambling and shattering the pop-song structures that once grounded her. ... I am floored by this record. I hear freedom, too. These songs make some breathtaking hairpin turns. ... It’s not just the wild craftsmanship of each song. It’s also that she’s fearless about what she’s doing: with sounds, with structures, with people’s expectations.
  5. Apr 17, 2020
    100
    Fetch The Bolt Cutters is full of visceral, jittery, wonderfully imperfect performances that make the album feel like a dreamlike concert at Largo.
  6. 100
    Bolt Cutters delivers a much-needed auditory exercise for the sequestered masses and surely one of the best albums to grace us in 2020. Eight long years later, Fiona Apple proves her return was worth every second in waiting.
  7. Apr 17, 2020
    100
    The result is that this seems not so much an album as a sudden glorious eruption; after eight long years, an urgent desire to be heard.
  8. Apr 17, 2020
    100
    The scope of Fetch the Bolt Cutters' meaning, its infinite feeling, will likely take years to fully absorb. An album like this doesn't come often, and an artist like Apple will never come again — she's given us an invaluable piece of light, a reminder to stay alive and awake and angry and kind.
  9. Apr 16, 2020
    100
    Fiona Apple’s fifth record is unbound, a wildstyle symphony of the everyday, an unyielding masterpiece. No music has ever sounded quite like it.
  10. Apr 16, 2020
    100
    Apple’s lyric writing is of the highest standard, even as it moves into the abstractions of her depression incantation Heavy Balloon (“I spread like strawberries/ I climb like peas and beans/ I’ve been sucking it in so long/ That I’m busting at the seams”). Her melodiousness holds together these strangely structured songs, whilst the boldness of her unusual arrangements forces you to adjust your ears and delve deeper into what she is trying to convey. ... This is an album that conveys one woman’s rage, vulnerability, confusion and wisdom in ways that we haven’t quite heard before.
  11. 100
    Manic descants, discordant pianos and abrupt changes in time signature at once complement and compete with each other in a carefully crafted clatter. The melodies are wonderful. The lyrics, too – conversational yet precise.
  12. Apr 17, 2020
    97
    Fetch the Bolt Cutters is exactly what so many expected it to be: brilliant. ... Fiona Apple can do with a piano, a handful of percussive items and her urgent voice what some could only hope to do with an entire orchestra.
  13. Apr 17, 2020
    96
    “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” sounds as fresh as something that crossed Apple’s fertile mind 10 minutes ago. It may be way early to say it’s the most satisfying album of the year, but if there are any more to come along this good, 2020 is not going to feel like such a waste of time after all.
  14. 91
    Fetch, which blossoms more and more with each listen, feels giddy too; high on romance and rhythm and the surreal gift of being alive.
  15. Uncut
    May 22, 2020
    90
    Fetch The Bolt Cutters is mostly the soundtrack of liberation, not recrimination, with Apple's piano keys, battering on the walls and barking dogs as its percussive, beating heart. [Jul 2020, p.27]
  16. Apr 27, 2020
    90
    It's bold, it's demanding, and it might very well go down as the finest full-length Fiona Apple has ever made.
  17. Apr 23, 2020
    90
    Fetch The Bolt Cutters isn’t the easiest album to listen to – and in these claustrophobic lockdown times, some may baulk at spending 51 minutes with an album of this intensity. Yet while it’s certainly not an album for background listening, those who are willing to invest some time in it will be rewarded by one of the most remarkable records released this year.
  18. Apr 23, 2020
    90
    Rage sits alongside heartache and humor, the shifts in mood occurring with a dramatic flair and a disarming playfulness. The unpredictable nature feels complex and profoundly human, resulting in an album that's nourishing and joyfully cathartic.
  19. Apr 20, 2020
    90
    Fiona Apple on a career of highs might just have produced her finest work yet. An album that we will surely look to as a cultural text, with its cutting commentary of contemporary culture and its feminist narratives.
  20. Apr 17, 2020
    90
    Fetch the Bolt Cutters is definitely the product of cabin fever and occasionally feels claustrophobic but it’s an undeniably fascinating and complex collection of songs. It manages to refine many of Apple’s already good ideas and displays a distinct sonic evolution.
  21. Apr 17, 2020
    90
    The result of Apple’s self-imposed social distancing is the stunning intimacy of the material here — a rich text to scour in quarantine. Her idiosyncratic song structures, full of sudden stops and lurching tempo changes, adhere to logic only she could explain, which forces you to listen as attentively as though a dear friend were bending your ear.
  22. Apr 17, 2020
    90
    Fetch the Bolt Cutters will not disappoint. Released with little warning nearly a decade after 2012’s The Idler Wheel…, the album sees the now-42-year-old songwriter proving that she’s still more than capable of telling off partners, detractors, and others who have done her wrong, all while picking apart the inner workings of her frantic mind. But what sets Bolt Cutters apart from its predecessors is that, for the first time, the scales tip more toward resilience than agony.
  23. Apr 16, 2020
    90
    It’s an ideal album for this decisively odd moment, its homemade feel (much of it was recorded in her house, with percussion partially supplied by objects around her home) and sense of awe giving it a defiant energy. ... A thrill ride.
  24. Mojo
    May 21, 2020
    80
    Though there isn't a dud in Apple's back-catalogue, she has never sounded quite so liberated and artistically sure-footed as this. [Jul 2020, p.86]
  25. Apr 20, 2020
    80
    If the grain of this album is purposely rougher-hewn, with boxy acoustics trading off with the odd sub-bass boom, the songwriting remains complex and elevated.
  26. 80
    This time there’s a more untamed fierceness in Apple’s voice, as she relays tales of feminism, abusive partners, the sacrifices of love and the dinner parties she won’t be quiet at. Unrefined sounds recorded in her LA home make for a visceral listening experience.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 771 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 77 out of 771
  1. Apr 17, 2020
    10
    This is such a huge statement as an album. The lyrics are brilliant, incredible instrumental, incredible production, incredible everything. ItThis is such a huge statement as an album. The lyrics are brilliant, incredible instrumental, incredible production, incredible everything. It feels almost like a new statement for music in general, it got too much going on and everything just works incredibly well, nothing like it. It feels like a huge fresh air of a completely original, innovative and refined masterpiece. Full Review »
  2. Apr 17, 2020
    3
    Meh. It's good if you're already a fan of Fiona Apple. Unlikely to convince you if you're not.
  3. Apr 19, 2020
    4
    After seeing all the praise being given to this album I decided to give it a try and after 3 listens through I feel like I'm missingAfter seeing all the praise being given to this album I decided to give it a try and after 3 listens through I feel like I'm missing something. It's like i'm listening to a completely different record than everyone else. There are a handful of solid tracks like I Want You To Love Me (aside from the grating vocals to close the song), Rack of His, Ladies, and Cosmonauts. The problem with making music in the kind of head space she seems to be in is that you toe the line between brilliance and pretentious drivel. Personally, I feel like the album wandered into the latter too many times for me to enjoy (Relay and Newspaper stand out in particular). It's hard for me to become immersed in an album if I'm rolling my eyes or shaking my head during half of the run time. If there were more memorable melodies to match the dissonance then I could see myself enjoying it more but there's just not much to grab onto for me. None of this is to say that I don't respect her ability as a musician or her talent for creating an atmosphere. It's just not an atmosphere that I want to be in regularly. Full Review »