Bippity boppity boo.
Let’s talk about Fiona Apple. The musician’s latest album, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters,” was awarded a perfect score by Pitchfork, the first new album in a decade to earn that level of acclaim from the publication and one of only more than 50 since the site was started by a Minneapolis teenager in the 1990s. The Ringer: The History and Influence of the Pitchfork 10.0: “Pitchfork, the most vital and polarizing rock-critic publication of its era, itself dates back to the mid-’90s, and has mutated a solid half-dozen times at least, from one-man online zine to multimillion-dollar Condé Nast publication, from disruptor to standard-bearer, its base of operations shifting from Minnesota to Chicago to its current NYC offices in One World Trade Center. But that 10.0 scale—which at the high end carries all the historical weight of five stars in Rolling Stone or five mics in The Source—remains one of the site’s signature flourishes, with its maddening and theoretically precise approach to decimal places, such that an ocean of feeling separates an 8.1 from an 8.9. The last album to earn a quote-unquote perfect 10.0 upon initial release was Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, reviewed by longtime features editor Ryan Dombal in 2010, and praised as “a blast of surreal pop excess that few artists are capable of creating, or even willing to attempt.” The nearly 10-year drought that followed gives you some sense of the momentousness of this occasion, and how bizarre and vexing and fascinating this pantheon—which now bonds Apple to the likes of Radiohead, Wilco, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Will Oldham, and a few luminaries from the late-’90s Minneapolis rock scene—has become.” (I, for one, have not listened to “Fetch the Bolt Cutters.” Daily Mix 5 has been 10.0.)
… Longreads: What Happens If I Don’t Like Fiona Apple? “The song I momentarily hated the most on the album, for the opening repetition of its title (‘Ladies,’ sixteen times!), is also the one I liked the most. Despite the clunky lyrics — ‘ruminations on the looming effect and the parallax view’ — some subterranean motor seems to power this track through the history of music, from folk to rap to whatever, sailing between genres like there’s nothing to it. When people talk of genius, when Pitchfork gives the album 10 stars, I hear a glimpse of that here. That’s the tension. If I just thought everyone had bad taste, or was dumb, I wouldn’t be tortured by disliking Fetch the Bolt Cutters. My lack of connection to it suggested I was missing some substantial sliver of intellect, which is something I can’t abide as someone who never really feels smart enough.”
… Speaking of industry oddities, Taylor Swift is sharing her City of Lover concert, performed live in September in Paris, with ABC. It airs at 9 p.m. CST Sunday.
… What to Watch With Your Graduate: “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020,” former President Barack Obama’s live, one-hour commencement speech featuring a number of special guests, will air Saturday on all major networks. (ABC News)
… What to Watch on the Web: ‘Community’ Cast — Including Donald Glover — to Reunite for Virtual Table Read (Variety)
Have you checked on your local newspaper’s sports staff lately? The Washington Post’s Ben Strauss on a profession on the brink: “Sports journalism, once a mainstay of daily newspapers and local TV news across the country, was already teetering from the upheavals of the digital era. But it has been ravaged by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has wiped out sports schedules and media advertising revenue virtually simultaneously. Without live games for the foreseeable future, the grim new reality has forced many in sports journalism to confront difficult questions about what their storied profession will look like even when they do resume — from what kind of budgets they’ll have to work with to what kind of access they’ll have to coaches and players.”
You know what I always say… When there’s an opportunity to gush about Florence Pugh, gush away. This month’s Elle Magazine UK cover story: “Have You Met Florence Pugh?”
… Specifically, have you seen her cook?