After a brief Internet-lead explosion of awareness, the movement to pursuade Sony to release Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine has slowed to a crawl. The bandwagon picked up some popular support but is now back to a hardcore group of fans. Ground zero for the Free Friona movement,
FreeFiona.com, doesn’t look to have been updated since roughly January. The Village Voice ran a review of the album last week, though it arrived months after the album and the issues around it have dropped out of the country’s water-cooler talk.
Recently there have been some bits of information—some from legitimate sources, others from unknown sources—to shed some light on the events and situations surrounding this controversial album. Where is the album? What’s Fiona doing now? Why wasn’t it released?
I spent some time poking around the message board at FreeFiona.com.
This post in particular gives some interesting information of the situation surrounding the unreleased album. Taken from a post at Aimee Mann’s message board, this post says producer Jon Brion asked Fiona to record a new album with him as a kind of therapy after the end of his six-year relationship. Jon and Fiona paid for the recordings and Fiona “did the album under the knowledge that it may or may not be something the label would release.” The post adds that Fiona has the option to buy out her contract and release the album elsewhere but had not chosen to do so. Other posters are skeptical about these claims.
There’s some conflicting information about Fiona’s post- Extraordinar Machine studio work. One poster referenced
this interview with Mike Elizondo in the January 2005 issue of Bass Player Magazine. “I’m producing Fiona Apple’s next album, which we just started,” he said. But a recent Entertainment Weekly , says a
post at FionaApple.org, claims Fiona is “starting a second third album with producer Brian Kehew (Moog Cookbook).”
Much has been said of Sony and the faults of the music industry for its inability to allow an album like this to be released. The rumor is that Sony didn’t hear a single and didn’t want to release it. That may be the case. Another scenario could be that Fiona didn’t want the album released. Very possible. It brings up a good question: What constitutes an album’s release? The album was leaked and, in a sense, was already released. It’s all over the Internet. Does printing up CDs really make a difference or legitimize this project? The fans who want Sony to release the album already have the album. They downloaded it.
American Joins Warner Bros
Rick Rubin and his American Recordings are
headed back to Warner Bros Records after a stint with Island Def Jam. The move reunites Rubin with Lyor Cohen, formerly of Def Jam and currently the CEO at Warner Music Group.
American will develop artists and Warner Bros will do all the unglamorous work—sales, marketing, promotion, distribution, etc. The label’s catalog, which includes Johnny Cash, Slayer, Danzig, and The Black Crowes, will go to Warner Bros in 2007.
Said Rubin, “Of all the labels, Warner Bros. is the rock label. All the biggest acts on it are rock artists. The company has a better understanding of rock and eclectic music than any other in the industry. It’s a perfect fit.”
Very true. Warner Bros has always been good with the rock music. This is a good move for Warner Music Group. Sales probably won’t be too outrageous but Rubin commands respect, develops projects like few others and has an outstanding catalog.
Next up for Rubin: an album by Neil Diamond.
Lorraine Ali’s article for the August 8th issue of Newsweek has some details. Of the eight tracks finished so far Ali wrote, “this is the best work Diamond has done in 30 years” and “Rubin’s stripped-down approach puts Diamond’s bitter-sweet voice and unparalleled songwriting front and center.” The album is due out in November.
Michael Jackson’s The Essential Michael Jackson sold only 8,000 units in its first week. Carly Simon’s new album,
pointed out The Sun, sold 58,000 the same week. Of course, Carly’s is a new album and Michael’s is not Thriller Pt. II . Guess that innocent verdict wasn’t enough to sell an unnecessary collection after all.