The first time I heard a Fiona Apple song was while watching music videos on MTV. I had the song stuck in my head for weeks and when I saw the CD in the store later, I begged my mom to buy it for me. I don’t think I took that CD out of my Discman for a month.
“Sleep to Dream” was the track song on Apples debut LP and a anthem for all the angsty, adolescent, infatuation scorned, girls. It was poetic, aggressive, and so perfect for the teen-aged emotional climate of the time. Every generation has it’s group of disillusioned, rebellious, slightly militant, socio-politically conscious, artsy types (or do they?). “Sleep to Dream” gave voice to so much of what we were feeling.
I’ve got my feet on the ground
And I don’t go to sleep to dream
You’ve got your head in the clouds
You’re not at all what you seem
This mind this body and this voice
Can not be stifled
By your deviant ways
So don’t forget what I told you
Don’t come around
I’ve my own hell to raise.
The sang the words with a powerful and throaty voice, over symphonic bass drums, dazzling piano melody and chorus swelling strings. They may have been intended for the man who violated her, but the words spoke to so many of us on so many levels. Imagine the Freedom Writers all excited and on our way to the Washington D.C. and when this song comes on, we get quiet and pensive before we begin discussing the meaning of the lyrics, talking about how we too have decided not to let our voices be stifled. As you can imagine, it was a very powerful moment, and I have been a fan since the very first listen.
It’s been a few years since Fiona Apple’s last album and I’ve found myself wondering where she is, especially since her last release – Extraordinary Machine - had been released under duress, following a prolonged disagreement between Apple and Epic/Sony BMG. No worries, while we muse, we can at least take a look at one of the videos and reflect with nostalgia.