CD AUDIO SIDE: Entire Album DVD SIDE * Entire album in Enhanced LPCM Stereo * Brand-new videos for "Not About Love" and "Parting Gift" (live), never before released * Live performances of 5 songs filmed at the club Largo... more » in Los Angeles, including "Fast As You Can" and "Paper Bag" * Behind-the-scenes footage« less
CD AUDIO SIDE: Entire Album DVD SIDE * Entire album in Enhanced LPCM Stereo * Brand-new videos for "Not About Love" and "Parting Gift" (live), never before released * Live performances of 5 songs filmed at the club Largo in Los Angeles, including "Fast As You Can" and "Paper Bag" * Behind-the-scenes footage
"I must say, I am so happy and yet so cursed by having heard the early version of the album. For those of you who don't know, somehow a complete version of the album was leaked onto the internet before all of the drama happened with its release (Fiona initiated it, not the label!) and I happened to come across a copy of the first version of the album back when everyone thought it wouldn't be released. I absolutely adored it! It is full of strings and whitty instrumentation, that almost reminds me of a musical or broadway type stuff! It was so lush and cute! I'm not saying cute in a belittling way, it was just so dainty and refined yet the same things that make Fiona Fiona.
So anyways, there's my little whining session. I know, I brought it on myself. If I hadn't accepted an illegal copy, then I wouldn't have to gripe about it! : ) Hehe. Anwyays, I will say that despite my disappointment in the differences between the first version and this one, it still is a good album. It is finally the way that Fiona really wants it, supposedly. And I would definitely not hesitate to tell you to get the Dual Disc, it's got the music video for my favorite song ("Not About Love") it's really cute! This comedian guy she heard about lipsyncs the whole thing...it's funny. And there's great live performences of new and old songs! Go for it!
For those of you who have heard the first version, you know what I'm talking about (and either agree that you like it or don't), for those of you who haven't, just enjoy this album! It's great even tho it's different than it might have been! Great songs can't be ruined by simple changes, I think..."
Listen to it again.
Tricia Estlund | Jupiter, FL USA | 11/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've always thought Fiona seemed wise beyond her years. I've read some reviews of her past works that have included the word genius. Although I always thought she was a bright girl, I also thought people really needed to quit throwing around the word genius so lightly.
As I listened to about half of each song on her Extraordinary Machine CD I thought to myself, what was that poor misguided girl thinking? Please Please Please was the only song I liked enough to load onto my mp3 player.
A few days later as I was jogging I was so stunned I actually stopped cold and just stood there for a minute. Then I started the song over and listened to it again. The lyrics that caught my attention were "Give us something familiar. Something similar. To what we know already. That will keep us steady. Steady going nowhere."
I then realized the reason I added this song to my player was because it was the only song that reminded me of her earlier stuff. I did exactly what she was pointing out in the song and truly felt like she was straight up calling me on it.
After listening to the whole thing a few times I'm utterly addicted to it. Not only was I initially wrong about Extraordinary Machine. I was wrong about Fiona. She truly is a genius and I honestly think this CD is her best work to date. "
'Extraordinary' Is the Word
Rudy Palma | NJ | 11/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With all the hubbub surrounding the release of her third album, "Extraordinary Machine," singer/songwriter Fiona Apple had a lot riding on her shoulders upon its release. Doubtless, when the Jon Brion-produced original version of the disc was left to gather dust on the recording studio floor in 2002, she could not have known that it would eventually end up the most notoriously circulated music the internet had seen. She also could not have imagined that her fans would found an official website, www.freefiona.com, and protest Sony in the hopes that it would at last be released. Following those events, she returned to the recording studio with producer Mike Elizondo, re-recorded nine of the eleven tracks, and added the stunning "Parting Gift," a poignant tribute to an ended relationship. The result is a far less kitchy version of the disc that satisfied both herself and Sony and became her first Top 10 album when it debuted at #7 on the Billboard charts.
The album kicks off with the endearing cabaret-style title track, one of the two Brion productions salvaged from the original, along with the joyful "Waltz (Better Than Fine)." Amidst its oddball lyrics Apple confronts adversarial forces with a toothy grin, proclaiming that she is an "extraordinary machine" and will thus prevail. She then moves on to "Get Him Back," the ultimate revenge fantasy.
"Next one up, a contemptible snob/He lived to put things in their place/He did a commendable job/He put himself so low he can hardly even look me in the face/So wait `till I get him back/He won't have a back to scratch."
As soon as the record begins it is apparent that Apple has matured, leaving the bulk of her once understood angst behind. Still, that does not stop her from being extremely ticked off at her would-be flame in "Not About Love," where "last night's phrases, sick with lack of basis" are writhing on her floor. "Tymps (The Sick In the Head Song)," with contains a slight hip-hop veneer, follows the same theme.
Elsewhere, she makes extremely astute commentary on the mass-consumerism and superficiality that marks American pop culture with "Please, Please, Please."
"You can hear our sad brains screaming/Give us something familiar/Something similar/To what we know already/That will keep us steady/Steady going nowhere."
The apex of the album, however, comes with "Window" and "Oh Well." The former, an outstanding ode to escaping physical abuse, finds Apple breaking the window to her freedom, stating "better that I break the window than him hurt me." She then comes to her senses after initially blaming herself in the latter track, realizing you cannot make someone accept unconditional love if he "doesn't believe in the stuff."
All things considered, "Extraordinary Machine" is an excellent art pop album from every angle. Only one track, the frothy "Better Version of Me," suffers in its new incarnation, proving the resurrection of the project both worthy and successful.
The DualDisc of the album features all the tracks in enhanced stereo, live performances, behind-the-scenes footage and a hilarious video for "Not About Love.""
Word of warning about DualDisc
ss | Boston, MA USA | 10/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just a head's up, the album itself is great but the CD audio side of the dual disc will not work with many (if not most) computer CD players. As a result, depending on your specific computer (I personally have an Apple G4 powerbook) you might not be able to burn the tracks and transfer them to an ipod or other portable mp3 players. I've written DualDisc about this and they replied back with a form letter acknowledgine the issue and claiming that they're "actively developing technologies" to improve playability on CD/DVD-ROM drives, but for now their best advice was for me to try to return the dualdisc and exchange it for the regular CD version (most stores do not allow exchanges of opened CDs/DVDs for different items). I would advise anyone who wants to listen to the album on their mp3 player to play it safe and just stick with the regular CD version."
Nathaniel | NY | 10/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had never listened to Fiona Apple until this album. But after all of the commotion over its release and all of the critical acclaim I figured I should give it a try. I never heard the version leaked on the internet.
That was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The material on here is just brilliant. I love how Fiona's soulful voice dances on top of the plucking orchestrations on the title track. I love how she gets so deep in her lyrics in every song, especially "Window." I love the somewhat hip hop feel to "Tymps"(The Sick In The Head Song. Mike Elizando did an excellent job on producing this album, and so did Jon Brion on his 2 tracks. This album is extraordinary.
Even if you're not into this kind of music, like myself, give it a try and experience the extraordinary machine.