Everything you thought you knew about Fiona Apple’s long-awaited, soon-to-be-released Extraordinary Machine is wrong. Contrary to rumor, the label did not shelve the album out of fears that it wasn’t commercial enough; neither Apple nor Epic had a falling out with her longtime producer, Jon Brion; neither Apple nor anyone else in her camp leaked the Brion sessions to the Internet last spring; and the version of Machine coming to stores on Oct. 4, as re-recorded under new producer Mike Elizondo, is really the version Apple approved.
The short version of what really happened, as Apple told Entertainment Weekly’s Karen Valby, is that she shelved the album herself; that when she decided to rerecord the tracks with Elizondo, Epic balked; and that, facing the prospect of song-by-song scrutiny from Epic over the rerecording, she quit the sessions altogether. ”So where everybody thinks [Epic] shelved the album, that is actually when I just said, ‘I quit,”’ Apple told Valby. ”It was the only thing I thought I could do.” In March, when unknown fans leaked the Brion version to the Internet in an apparent effort to prod the label to release the album, Apple said, ”I started feeling guilty, because it wasn’t the truth. The album hadn’t really been shelved. What was I going to do, tell all these people to stop, tell them that I had done the quitting? But I quit because I felt that what was going to happen was what they thought was already happening.”
The good news was, the fan response did prompt Epic to pay for her to re-record the album the way she wanted, with Elizondo producing, and she did so in June. ”I’ve been in the driver’s seat throughout this,” the singer told Valby. ”Sometimes not driving. Sometimes not actually moving. I was stalled for a long time, but I’ve definitely been in the driver’s seat.” For the full story, see Entertainment Weekly’s new issue, out Friday.