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Fetch The Bolt Cutters: A Master Class in Confident Vulnerability

by Staff Writer Tavish Mohanti

Largely produced in her Los Angeles home using GarageBand, Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple is an unapologetic expression of emotion, a rollercoaster of rhythm, melody, and sound, and a truly immersive experience. 

Album cover for Fetch the Bolt Cutters

Apple’s emotional expression throughout this album is a refreshing release with its unwavering authenticity. Take for example when she sings “Fetch the bolt cutters / I’ve been in here too long.” The intonation of her voice coupled with the fluctuating volume and her searing tone make the listener empathize with her pain, desperation, and frustration in only ten simple words, demonstrating how this album is a master class in confident vulnerability. 

Further, Apple weaves sounds throughout her melodies, like a girl screaming at the end of “I Want You To Love Me” or a dog barking at the start of “Newspaper,” complementing the haunting melodies and meaningful lyrics that Apple expertly uses. 

She carefully pieces her words together to tackle impactful themes, instead of the cliche superficial themes that many other artists sing about. Her lyrics, brimming with deeper meaning, address important themes and her own struggles, like sexual assault, bullying, and self-loathing. With her lyrics, she documents her journey of grappling with these issues, the lessons she learned, and the healing process that she is still struggling with. In “Shameika” she talks about people who have helped her along the way. In “Heavy Balloon”, she discusses her path to self-realization. In “On I Go”, she sings about her perseverance and her dedication to moving forward. Connecting back to the emotional rawness of the album, Apple is unafraid to sing with a rare mature sensitivity and honesty. She is confident and ready to address her inner-demons in a loud, unconventional way. 

Apple explores her freedom and complex personal experiences through this critically acclaimed album.

But no album is perfect, and Fetch the Bolt Cutters is no exception. Several times throughout there are discordant melodies that collide and compete with each other, ruining Apple’s delicately constructed soundscape. Presumably meant to add depth and express her emotions, these sounds instead become obnoxious and disrupt the flow of the music. In “On I Go,” there is a point where the album’s most unique elements turn into the album’s weakest. 

Although there are some issues with the album, Fetch The Bolt Cutters has several unfiltered emotional moments that make the album a deeply personal journey. Though sometimes distracted, Apple succeeds in conveying her message of trauma and healing. 


Fetch the Bolt Cutters (2020)

Though sometimes hurt by distracting melodies and obnoxious sounds, Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters is a beautiful expression of pain and trauma.








  • Impactful lyrics
  • Emotionally expressive vocals
  • Scathing commentaries


  • Distracting sound effects
  • Garish melodies
Listen on Spotify

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