Singer/songwriter Fiona Apple dropped the ultimate quarantine gift on us all this past Friday with the long-anticipated release of her fifth studio album, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters,” her first since 2012’s “The Idler Wheel.” The album touches on topics such as healing wounds of self-loathing, to toxic relationships and, finally, Hollywood predators. She’s been outspoken in recent interviews about her challenging experiences with men, including Paul Thomas Anderson and Quentin Tarantino in The New Yorker.
The album’s penultimate song, “For Her,” uses ironic wordplay to tell a story of one of Apple’s friends, who was an intern at a production company. “Never showing weakness unless it’s a ward’s season / It’s the season of the ward / And she’s trying to cut the cord / She’s tired of planting her knees on the cold, hard floor of facts / Trying to act like the other girl acts.” Not hard to guess what “a ward’s season” is riffing off.
“It’s partly inspired by conversations I had with this woman I knew years ago, when she had been an intern for a film-production company, and she gave me permission to write a song about this. It’s really a song for her,” Apple told Vulture in a recent interview. To, in a roundabout way, tell her story that she’s not able to tell. It’s relevant that she started as an intern because that’s why the lyrics are, ‘It’s a ward’s season, the season of the ward.’ She said he always talked about her like she was his ‘ward,’ like he was there to protect her from all of Hollywood’s creeps.”
In the same Vulture interview, and in line with the album’s themes, Apple also spoke candidly regarding her thoughts on her ex, Louis C.K., the comedian whose reputation darkened when sexual misconduct allegations began to surface — and how his mea culpas since have maintained a certain shade of doubling-down defensiveness. When the accusations against Louis C.K. began to emerge, Apple sent him a letter asking that he “dig deeper” in reflecting on his treatment of women.
“I know he’s got such a great brain and he understands why he did that shit. I feel robbed that he’s not giving us what he thinks about that,” Apple said. “And the fact that he’s complaining about the money he lost, and that tired joke of, ‘Hey, how’s everybody’s 2020? Did everybody have a great year?’ That was a bad joke when it was done the first time, but it’s not even a joke. The one thing I will say about that situation is that the women he harassed continue to be harassed by his little bros. By the little Louis bros. Fuck you, Louis bros. And fuck him for not even just acknowledging that. And for the record, he didn’t apologize.”
Finally, Apple told Vulture’s Rachel Handler on the subject of Louis C.K., “I can’t tell you how many men have advised me not to apologize because ‘it makes you look weak.’ [Louis] recently said something like, ‘Women are really good at seeming like they’re okay when they’re not okay.’ And that’s true, but don’t you fucking act like their discomfort and not-okay-ness wasn’t exactly what got you off. I am a very forgiving person. But I cannot forgive someone who cannot acknowledge what needs to be forgiven.”