New songs from Fiona Apple and Liz Phair: Do you believe in third chances?

Two of my favorite artists released songs to the internet last weekend. Fiona Apple posted a song from her upcoming album to Soundcloud, while Liz Phair sent an MP3 to the administrator of her biggest fan site and announced via Twitter that it’s “a stand-alone track, not what new record will sound like at all.”

Soundcloud: Fiona Apple – “Every Single Night”

MP3: Liz Phair – “Avalanche (Stereo Romance)” via Ken Lee’s Mesmerizing

Apple’s official “leak” was clearly part of an established technique for rousing excitement for a new album, which now includes weekly updates to keep us thinking about her.

• January 22: Record label exec unexpectedly tweets “Welcome back Fiona!”
• January 24: Label spokesperson clarifies new album will “absolutely be this year”
• February 14: South By Southwest showcase announced
• February 21: “Mini tour” dates announced
• March 7: Album title announced
• March 14: South By Southwest showcase features new songs
• March 19-27: mini tour
• April 2: Album track list, artwork, release date revealed
• April 9: North American tour dates announced
• April 23: “Every Single Night” posted to Soundcloud

It worked, of course. June 19 can’t come soon enough. But it’s hard not to feel like you’re being played with each step in the process generating new tweets, blog posts, and news items.

Contrast that precisely executed digital marketing roadmap with the seemingly haphazard Liz Phair release. The prevailing narratives tell us Fiona is the uncontrollable artiste, while Liz is the calculating careerist. But Phair used her personal Twitter account to give away a free song for no particular reason. She’s got nothing new to promote. Funstyle came out close to two years ago, and while she’s apparently finished a new video for “And He Slayed Her,” this new song has nothing to do with that.

It would be unfair to fail to point out that Apple is constricted by a major label contract while Phair is free to do whatever she wants with hew new songs. But it’s cool to see an artist taking advantage of that freedom.

8 thoughts on “New songs from Fiona Apple and Liz Phair: Do you believe in third chances?”

  1. This Liz song is so great…. just when you think that she’s happy with where she lands, she releases a wonderful song like this to remind you she’s still here, “Don’t You Forget About Me”-style. Maybe it’s my forever fondness for Chicago rock circa ’90s, but I think I’m gonna keep a soft spot in my heart for Liz. More like this, please!!!

  2. Murph, do you have Funstyle? There are three songs on there that are better than this new one and 2-3 more that are as good.

  3. I like the Liz Phair song better than the Fiona Apple song (whose work I don’t really know…), but the thing I liked best is that picture of Phair. Liz, I’m here for you, if you need me.

  4. I still need to get Funstyle, esp. since it has the second disc of GirlySounds tracks. That was in hindsight a smart call on my part to wait on buying this and not get the download, huh?

    Did the two tracks on her Minty Fresh single ever get legitimate release anywhere?

  5. New Fiona Apple – perfect. So excited for that album 6/19! Glad the hiatus is over because she’s the Bees Knees. <3

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