Fiona Apple operates on her own time, and perhaps regrettably for the rest of us, that’s part of what makes her great. More than a year after the open-veined piano belter unveiled SPIN Essential album The Idler Wheel… — and a few months after she canceled the last of her remaining 2013 tour dates — Apple has shared a video for the album’s rumbling, spartan closer, “Hot Knife” (via Pitchfork).
It’s directed by filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood), Apple’s former boyfriend. Few Idler Wheel… reviews spent much time on “Hot Knife,” but its mix of stripped-down intimacy and musicianly intricacy neatly encapsulates much of what makes the record so powerful. The video follows a similar route, showing Apple as she pummels the timpani and passionately delivers the song’s twisty lead melody amid overlapping backing vocals. “If I’m butter then he’s a hot knife / He makes my heart a CinemaScope screen,” she begins. Anderson puts her song in widescreen, which he then splits up like her lyrical “pad of butter,” with Fiona’s sister Maude Maggart — who also provided harmonies for the album — on the left side.