Fiona Apple really doesn’t care what you think of her. Well, that’s the impression I get when I consider the way she handled her early stardom, back in 1996, and the fact she’s only put out four albums since then. Her most recent, Fetch The Bolt Cutters, released this past spring, seems as fresh as her first, penned when she was 17, 18 and 19. Back then, she seemed like a unicorn of sorts, bold, but vulnerable, classically trained, but willing to step out and away from tradition. And she could scat. She could jazz it up and still sound like the newest, coolest woman on the block. Actually, not just new — beautifully strange.
“Under the Table”
So when I heard her song on the radio, I didn’t even know it was Fiona Apple, but I did think it was something new, fresh, and influenced by Fiona Apple. Why did the chords, the bridges, the runs hit me that way? Primarily because Gen Z and Millennial singers, especially the women, love to scat. They love to run words into one another like there’s too much in their heads in need of quick release, and far too little time to do so. Perhaps. Maybe. And then they chill. And then they scat again. Chill. Scat. They do Ella, and then Nick Drake it. Bebop to Hip Hop and somewhere altogether different.
“Figure it Out”
Listening to a local alternative radio station, Blu DeTiger caught my ear, sounding like the current manifestation of the Zeitgeist in several ways. All of 21, she scats too, vocally and with her bass, and her lyrics throw a mix at my ears of fatalism, damage, stoicism and cool. It’s impossibly understated. Humbly confident. Blu “made the scene” as a DJ first, played bass, OTJ, “graduated” to Tik Tok, and now she’s full-fledged. I think she and Fiona should make records together. Pass the torch!