When The Pawn... Image
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 124 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 toThe 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. Expand

Top Track

Paper Bag
I was staring at the sky Just looking for a star To pray on or wish on Or something like that I was having a sweet fix Of a daydream of a boy Whose... See the rest of the song lyrics
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. Her musical ideas and lyrics have caught up with the ability of her voice. The songs are well varied, and transition smoothly from one to the other.
  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. 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.
  6. Apple's arty predisposition and prodigious gifts allow this 22-year-old to wax poetic and make it rock because her delivery is so dexterous and forceful.
  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: 33 out of 34
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 34
  3. Negative: 1 out of 34
  1. AustinA
    Jul 15, 2005
    10
    In her sullen world of lyrical genius, she achieves an amazing feat with this stellar album.
  2. 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 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
  3. 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 aThis 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
  4. 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!
  5. 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 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. Expand
  6. May 9, 2020
    10
    The actual perfect 10 album has been in front of us for decades. It's too bad that the narrative critics, journalist and the industry falselyThe actual perfect 10 album has been in front of us for decades. It's too bad that the narrative critics, journalist and the industry falsely (but effectively) spin regarding Fiona made it oh so easy for them to dismiss the music and focus on the fact that they didn't know how to talk or write about a young woman who had layers. At the time the male dominated industry couldn't handle a woman who was a rape survivor AND did that video where she was a half naked temptress. Throw a thoughtful acceptance speech which made the soundbite 'this world is **** to prove how ungrateful she was for being let into the club in the first place and it was a perfect storm. An easy way to talk about her mental state rather than her talent. It took 20 years but those nasty words are preserved in the annals of the internet. Theu should first apologize before eating their proverbial crow then reassess this deep and moving work of art. Expand
  7. Jun 9, 2020
    1
    Subpar work from a tremendous artist.Nostalgia from coming from her first album made it one the fan favourites in its own right though theSubpar work from a tremendous artist.Nostalgia from coming from her first album made it one the fan favourites in its own right though the writing is ok I can’t say much about the production of this album. Expand

See all 34 User Reviews