“Every Single Night”
Sometimes a singer tells you exactly what they’re all about in one perfect, crystal clear line, and that happens in this song as Fiona Apple repeats “I just want to feel everything,” wringing out every syllable until it drips with emotion.
“Every Single Night” has a typically ornate Apple melody, but its arrangement is strict and skeletal. She’s gone minimal before, but this is a different approach – she drops a linear, conventional accompaniment in favor of carefully selected tones that support a vocal melody that would hold up just fine as an a cappella performance. The chords have a music box delicacy, but other sounds arrive with a gently measured yet unmistakably blunt force, and some tones have a pointed sharpness. It’s as if she’s finding a beautiful utility for things that could just as well be physically threatening.
This approach and subtext suits the lyrics, which meditate on a cycle of strife and discomfort. Apple’s images focus on the body in ways that highlight its fragility and limitations, imagining second skeletons forced under the skin, and picturing a broken chest in ways that come disturbingly close to how you’d describe food. She sets up that image just before singing “I just made a meal for us both to choke on,” getting the most out of a visceral, unpleasant line.
(Originally posted 4/25/2012)