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Old 08-15-2005, 06:56 PM   #1
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Fiona Free at Last

eonline.com by Charlie Amter
Aug 15, 2005, 4:20 PM PT

Fiona Apple has been sprung.

The angsty singer-songwriter's long-gestating Extraordinary Machine will hit stores Oct. 4, her label, Epic Records, announced Monday, ending months of speculation that the disc would never be officially released after multiple tracks were leaked online last year.

The news answers the prayers of Websites like FreeFiona.com, set up to beg Epic to release the album, Apple's first new music since 1999's When the Pawn... The highly publicized onslaught included Internet petitions and mass mailings of apples to record company suits.

But the campaign fell on deaf ears and the album kept gathering dust. Epic A&R execs were reportedly unhappy with the 11-track collection as produced by Jon Brion, who previously worked with David Byrne and Aimee Mann.

Brion's name was conspicuously absent from Monday's press release touting Extraordinary Machine. Instead, Mike Elizondo, best known for his collaborations with 50 Cent, is the chief producer credited, even though 11 of the 12 tracks on Extraordinary Machine were among those available on the download circuit last year.

The company line is that Apple and Elizondo reworked nine of the Brion-helmed songs, which Apple characterized as embryonic. Two other tracks are identical to the previously released versions, and there is one brand new ditty, "Parting Gift."

"Now that my album is finally finished, I am very, very excited to have people hear what we did--I am so proud of it, and all of us who worked on it," she says in a press release.

Speaking to the New York Times, Elizondo says the new album sounds "radically different" from the leaked version. "Everything was done from scratch," he tells the newspaper.

And that may not be music to fans' ears.

"I'm surprised," says Steve Mirkin, a Los Angeles-based music writer who contributes to Variety. "I would have thought that [Epic] would want to release the record that was already out on the Internet because that was what got people interested in Fiona again."

"Now, it looks like the record may be 'damaged goods' to fans."

To appease fans and to hype the new release, Epic has launched Fiona-Apple.com, which features artwork from Extraordinary Machine and two songs, "O' Sailor" and "Parting Gift." The site also features a contest with prizes including free CDs and concert tickets.

Both tracks will be available for download Tuesday on iTunes, and "O' Sailor" will also be streamed at MySpace.com.

Meanwhile, the mystery of the leaked album might never be solved. Only a few people had access to the masters--including Apple, Brion and a handful of recording engineers--and no one has taken responsibility.

A publicist for Brion, Ray Costa, tells the Associated Press that the Apple album is "one sore subject with him." Costa says Brion wasn't the one behind the Internet leak and that the version that has been available online "has been additionally manipulated even from what Jon had done before." Earlier this year, Brion told MTV that he had completed work on the album in May 2003.

The Extraordinary Machine episode is playing out remarkably similar to the Dave Matthews Band's Lillywhite Sessions leak in 2001. An album's worth of scrapped songs recorded by the jam band under the supervision of longtime producer Steve Lillywhite made its way to file-swapping sites and proved to be a huge Internet hit. (Lillywhite denied any culpability.) DMB eventually retooled several of the tracks and released the album as Busted Stuff, which critics compared unfavorably to the original.

Apple burst onto the scene in 1996 with her acclaimed debut album, Tidal, which earned a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance and sold 2.7 million copies in the U.S., per Nielsen SoundScan. She has sold over 5 million records worldwide, according to Epic.
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Old 08-15-2005, 08:38 PM   #2
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Old 08-16-2005, 06:21 AM   #3
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Old 08-16-2005, 06:32 AM   #4
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Somewhere out there, lowercase is getting drunk in honor of this.
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Old 08-16-2005, 03:50 PM   #5
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Originally posted by LarryMullen's_POPAngel
Somewhere out there, lowercase is getting drunk in honor of this.
yes, yes i am.

i was SO happy to hear this.

just in time for my birthday, too.


fiona
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Old 08-17-2005, 06:21 AM   #6
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Old 08-17-2005, 08:38 AM   #7
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Old 08-17-2005, 11:21 AM   #8
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Old 08-17-2005, 06:37 PM   #9
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The songs sound exactly like her first album. I'm excited about this one.
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Old 08-17-2005, 07:41 PM   #10
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Best news in ages. I am seriously pumped. Now if only she would do a few shows...
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