Tidal

by Fiona Apple

Released July 23, 1996 via The WORK Group

Reviewed July 20, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Shadowboxer (67%), Criminal (57%), Sleep to Dream (43%)

Singer/Songwriters rarely debut with the level of writing prowess or lush instrumental backing that exists in Fiona Apple’s Tidal. Each of the album’s ten songs are set in similarly intimate ambience, often patiently building into sensuous and/or emotional ballads. An immensely gifted poet and pianist, Fiona puts listeners up to a carousel of lovesick tunes in which her passion and angst are palpable at nearly every turn. Individual songs on Tidal take the seamless and familiar shape of one another, while the album’s subtle variety of stringed and percussive instruments provide a unique and diverse edge among its field of contemporaries. Wire to wire, Tidal is an enthralling display of Fiona’s effective songwriting and elite showmanship, evidently classic after 25 years. – DeVán (8.8/10)


The debut record from Fiona Apple, Tidal, provided the world with its first glimpse at a generational talent. Letting her voice paint pictures to poetry, Apple’s brand of piano-based, jazz-tinged pop centers around her prowess as both a songwriter and vocalist. Her stories simultaneously unpack her hardships as a young woman and highlight her genius. It is a stretch to call the arrangements on Tidal minimalistic, but there is a sense of comfortability to their complexity that makes you appreciate them both on their own, and as the backdrop for the record’s narratives. – Dominick (8.5/10)

Fiona Apple’s debut was a wonderful foreshadowing of the promise to come. From the jump she had a distinct mix of jazz, piano ballads, and pop that tended to crossover into introspective tales of lost love. Her young voice has a sense of eagerness to it while always maintaining a feeling of melancholy that mixes well with the incredible arrangements on the record. Whether it be a stark piano ballad, a lush string based piece, or a more upbeat radio friendly type track, Fiona Apple is always 100% herself. Even better albums would follow, but Tidal remains an essential debut record in the history of music. – Jared (8.5/10)


Pax: 9/10 | Alan: 8.8/10 | DeVán: 8.8/10

Cam: 8.5/10 | Dominick: 8.5/10 | Jared: 8.5/10