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Critical Fatwa

Don't mess with Fiona Apple.

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All hail that doe-eyed siren Fiona Apple. Though she can be pretentious and sometimes seem unstable, these are faults we can forgive. No, we do not fatwa Apple, even though her last album title had twice as many words in it as a standard Ramones song. We like Fiona Apple. That is why we listened to her newest album, Extraordinary Machine, months ago, when it leaked on the internet, to much public acclaim. But Apple's label, Epic Records -- foul beast of the underworld that it is -- would like us to pretend that this didn't happen. For treating us like fools, Epic, we hand you a stinging fatwa!

With much hoopla, Epic officially released Apple's third album recently. But we believe that we -- along with everyone else who cares the least bit about Fiona Apple -- already heard this album last spring. So you brought in a new producer for this release and ditched Jon Brion. But we have a name for that: a remix album! Epic knows that we know about the advance version -- Scene even reviewed the leaked album in April. Yet the label treats us as if it were a Lothario caught in another's embrace: Whom will you believe -- the betrayer, or your lying eyes?

Epic, you cannot pretend that internet file-sharing does not exist. May all your bad decisions come back to haunt you, and may all your albums leak. This is the fatwa as we have pronounced it! It is written.

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