Is your voice raw from gutturally screaming along to Fiona Apple’s latest release, Fetch the Bolt Cutters? I’m not there quite yet, but I am working as fast as I can. There’s only so much weed I can smoke during the workweek, you know! But in the absence of Apple’s favorite controlled substance, I’ve been looking at pictures of her to soothe my world-weary soul—lots and lots of pictures.
For instance, here is a snapshot of Apple rocking out at KROQ’s Christmas charity benefit in 1997. She’s been swinging that long hair around and mystifying the masses as long as I’ve been alive! Take particular note of her sweater and exposed bra fit, which is as trend-specific and applicable in 2020 as it was in 1997. Cozy comfy prophetess!
That same year, she was also photographed calling her joint hotline with PETA in her war against Butterball turkey recipes. Were you to call it, the Virginian-Pilot reported, you’d hear her “lament” that “each year, the Butterball turkey company sponsors a turkey talk line to answer questions about proper cooking techniques [...] There is no proper way to kill and cook these beautiful birds.” I tried calling the hotline myself, 1-888-VEG-FOOD, but it’s since been long disconnected. Doesn’t anyone know history must be preserved?
Imagine this: Gary Oldman, Matt LeBlanc, and Fiona Apple walk into a charity gala. Clearly, the year is 1998, and instead of a fancy ballgown, she opted for a classically ’90s jersey dress and chunky knit scarf.
A few weeks later, she’d attend the 70th Annual Academy Awards, where she was photographed on the red carpet with Madonna. Where the “Ray of Light” singer opted for her usual, overly dressed getup—take off some of those accessories!—Apple looked simple and casual, braless, with hair accessories that matched her teal jersey dress. If any of these new alt-girls popped up at the Grammys in this fit, I’d instantly label them best dressed, and worship at their stylists’ feet for at least a decade. Come on, Law Roach! Give me what I want!
Speaking of awards ceremony get-ups, I think about this picture of Fiona Apple and Sheryl Crow at least once a week. Apple’s perfectly sheer gown, contrasted with Crow’s chunky jewelry and statement belted-romper—scream!
It reminds me of this classic interview between them from 2005, for Entertainment Weekly, where they discussed the rumor that brought them together:
Fiona Apple: [To Crow] Do you remember how after we did [the 1997 EW cover], somebody from, like, New York magazine made up some story where I locked myself in the bathroom? And the bathroom didn’t actually have a lock. It was a swinging door. You wrote [an unpublished] letter [to the magazine] in my defense.
Sheryl Crow: Well, the whole thing was so ridiculous. To pit women against other women, it’s such a cliché.
FA: When the thing came out, it said ”Fiona Apple: Rotten to the Corps,” and my grandmother was in town, and she was like, ”Did you really do that?” And then we found out about you writing the letter and everybody in my house was like, ”Yay, Sheryl Crow!” [Laughs]
SC: I’m the queen of letter writing. It’s just something I can’t help. My parents raised me that you always wrote letters.
In my head, Sheryl Crow’s “my friend the communist” from “Soak Up the Sun” is actually just Fiona Apple.
Alongside her keen fashion sense and commitment to wearing as many different shades of nude lipstick as possible, you may have heard that Apple is also incredibly talented. Just look at this picture of her signing an autograph, holding her purse, and smoking a cigarette! Can you do that? I certainly couldn’t.
I don’t have much to say about this next one besides the fact that I wish I’d look this cool when I’m screaming!
The amount of Tumblr blogs that have posted variations of her 2005 photoshoot at MTV studios speaks to the enduring power of her hoodies and t-shirts.
Later, at the 2006 Grammy Awards, she’d premiere one of the most well-executed ensembles of the 2000s. The fact that it’s J. Mendel, of Neiman Marcus sale rack fame, still shocks me to this day, especially considering it predicted the rise of Gucci and frou-frou princess chic a good 10 years in advance. (And yes, I know Rodarte and Marchesa were probably doing the same thing.)
Here’s some more screaming!
I won’t speak on this skirt, which is giving me a few too many flashbacks to 2011, but once again, Apple is a pioneer of the exposed bra and wild, untamed hair.
In 2012, her tour bus was pulled over at the Texas border, where cops found hash and “a small amount of marijuana,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. At a concert in Houston after the fact, the outlet wrote:
In a verbose, rambling monologue at her Houston concert on Friday, Apple — appearing simultaneously amused and angered by the situation — told the audience that she wanted to apologize to “the guy who runs the jail,” who she dubbed “a real decent guy,” for “being attitude-y and saying that I didn’t trust him. Because I didn’t then but by the end of the day I did.”
Of course, the information officer in charge of her jail stint wrote a sexist letter in response, telling Apple: “Two weeks ago nobody in the country cared about what you had to say, — now that you’ve been arrested it appears your entire career has been jump-started. Don’t worry Sweetie, I won’t bill you...” Later in the letter, he told her to “shut up and sing.” Glad Apple was never one to listen to the advice of piggish men, in either her industry or beyond. Anyway, here’s her mug shot:
This is not an endorsement of do-it-yourself bangs, now or probably ever. Conversely, Fiona Apple is probably good at cutting her own bangs, right?
I’ll leave you all with this, which is probably where we’re all at right now emotionally. As such, if you have some time this weekend, to cry or laugh or even scream, why not spend it with Fifi Apps?