Fiona Apple’s new album, Extraordinary Machine, has been freed from purgatory. Our earlier laments on the disc have been, at least in part, answered by Sony. It seems the impasse has been broken, a new producer brought in, and the first remixed track — Oh, Sailor (stream) — released.
The Times story, though, has an odd twist to it. It quotes an anonymous executive as saying "It was never in a place where she wanted it out . . ." and "Record executives, however, insist Ms. Apple herself believed the album remained
a work in progress."
That’s a bit of historical revisionism. There was never anything said suggesting that Apple was dissatisfied with the original Disc she and producer Jon Brion had recorded. Personally, I will reserve judgement until I hear the entire new disc — but I really enjoyed what I initially heard on the leaked album. (The New York Times‘ Jon Pareles called it "an oddball gem.")
I hope fans will have the opportunity to hear complete releases of both versions, similar to what happened with Dave Matthews Band; Here’s the specifics of that from the NYT:
The release of "Extraordinary Machine" echoes a situation faced by another
popular act, the Dave Matthews Band, four years ago. Weeks after the band
released "Everyday," an album produced by Glen Ballard, Mr. Matthews and his
bandmates discovered that an album’s worth of songs they had recorded earlier –
and then scrapped – had leaked to file-sharing systems and had been heard by
untold numbers of the band’s followers.
"Everyday" went on to sell 3.6 million copies, but several critics, not to
mention hard-core fans, voiced a preference for the somewhat downbeat unreleased
material, which had been created with the band’s longtime producer, Steve
Lillywhite, over the work produced by Mr. Ballard, whose influence gave the band
a lighter, more radio-friendly sound. The band rerecorded many of the songs from
the so-called "Lillywhite sessions" and released them as the album "Busted
Stuff" in 2002. That album has sold an estimated 1.9 million copies.
So much for downloading killing CD sales.
For those who want more details, here are some additional links:
Fiona Apple Completes Long Awaited New Album Extraordinary Machine
Press Release, fiona-apple.com
Fiona Apple Retools Her Leaked Album
Fiona Apple Returns
Fiona Fashions A Different ‘Machine’
Fiona Apple’s New Album to Be Released