Is the beautiful, foliage-lined walk to class putting you in a suspiciously good mood? Are the strings of rainy days not enough to knock your optimism down a peg, leaving you uneasy with your own cheeriness? Look no further for clarity, because the results are in! Last week, we asked our faithful Water Tower readers whether it would be more of a Mazzy Star Autumn or a Fiona Apple Fall. “Pale September” may be over, but in true pretentious college student nature, voters have decided that it is officially a Fiona Apple Fall. Mazzy Star Autumn was a close contender, but toes the line between Jeff Buckley/The Cure self pitying 80s alternative versus the more specific vibe the approaching months encapsulate. What better way to ring in the season than with the artist whose 1997 VMAs acceptance speech is unofficially referred to as the “sad girl autumn manifesto?” The jacket-not-required, listening to Fleetwood Mac on the way to class type weather is no more. In its place we welcome what the New Yorker referred to as an “art of radical sensitivity”– the discography of Ms. Fiona Apple, whose angst is just as predictable as the seasonal depression that ac- companies the listener. Her poetic introspection is scored with jazz influences, minor key instrumen- tals, and a signature lack of autotune. Additionally, a quintessential component of any Fiona Apple song is percussive use of household items– her live-in engineer is rumored to have been subject to mixing tracks using utensils, doors, and even the bones of her cremated dog (I wouldn’t be surprised if there were physical bolt cut- ters involved in her most recent album).
Apple’s fanbase is consistent with the aforementioned voting parameters– recall, exclusion of cis men, except for maybe someone’s hipster dad who heard about her from a physical copy of Rolling Stone magazine in the 90s. She is enjoyed among OG millennial fans, fellow mysterious faux-troubled college students, and 14 year olds who have heard a little too much about existentialist philosophy from tik tok. In the face of uncertainty, listeners find solace in relating to her abstract reflections on life struggles. A prominent influence is what Apple herself refers to as just “psychiatric problems”, implying mental illness, relationships, and substance abuse. Her cocaine sobriety was only catalyzed after an insufferable night in the private screening room of a coked up Quentin Tarantino– enough mansplain- ing for several lifetimes. Within her only-certain-people-get-it (but realistically, pretty big) fanbase, Fifi’s tunes are perfect for people whose moral compass has a slight- ly skewed electromagnetic field. One can find comfort in the fact that the subjects of her lyrics in- clude Paul Thomas Anderson and Louis C.K. I imagine an overlapping Venn diagram exists between Fiona Apple fans and Britta from Community sympathizers, a conclusion reached by my self-identification with both circles.
Whether you want to romanticize your melancholic solitude with Tidal or angrily brood that failed situationship with When the Pawn…, it’s time we embrace the ten-degree temperature drop and welcome the season of Fiona Apple Fall. Go apple picking, take pictures of trees, start wearing winged eyeliner again, don an outfit that makes you feel like the subject of an Arctic Monkeys song– whatever you do in the spirit of Fiona Apple Fall, just know that a little “Shadowboxer” never hurt anyone. To quote the icon herself: “This world is bullshit. And you shouldn’t model your life about what you think that we think is cool and what we’re wearing and what we’re saying and everything. Go with yourself”.