"Every Single Night" (3:33)
Producers: Fiona Apple, Charley Drayton
Writer: F. Apple
Publisher: FHW Music (ASCAP)
Clean Slate/Epic Records
One thing can be said for the elusive Fiona Apple: She lets the voices in her head speak, even if the words that come out don't paint such a pretty picture. Apple's first single in nearly seven years, "Every Single Night," is a tortured tale that includes Sylvia Plath-esque lines like "I just made a meal for us to both choke on" and a chorus that begs, "I just want to feel everything." But the lyrics aren't the only aspect of the sparse song that feels bipolar: There's a prominent toy piano riff that makes Apple sound like a ballerina spinning out of control. There are vocal chants and percussive breakdowns that suggest Apple found a minor influence in African tribal music, and then there's the stunning vocal control the singer/pianist exhibits throughout, switching among gasping, quivering, crooning, yelping and gritting her teeth. Needless to say, Apple's single isn't a "Criminal" sequel, and radio airplay doesn't appear to be the goal here. Yet it's fair to deem "Every Single Night" a triumphant comeback by being exactly what Apple's cult of devotees has been yearning for.