Ah, a rare and special day that brings new Fiona Apple music! This year she has already treated us to a new record — which was followed by a somewhat tumultuous promotional run, replete with drug arrests and cross-legged ranting — and already she’s back again with another new song called “Dull Tool.” Written for Judd Apatow‘s Knocked Up spin-off This Is 40 — a film that will also feature songs from the likes of Paul Simon, Paul McCartney and Ryan Adams, all produced by Apple’s When The Pawn… collaborator Jon Brion — it is dense and fevered, like the tortured antidote to Idler Wheel‘s yearning “Hot Knife.”
Clearly, something — ahem, children? — has gone awry in this relationship, and leave it to Fiona to go ahead and tell it exactly as it is: “You don’t kiss when you kiss, you don’t f*** when you f***, you don’t say what you mean, you don’t talk loud enough,” she sings, evil and angry and awesome over hissing strings and racing percussion. And then she continues to explain that, quitely but no less searingly that: “You forgot the difference between equanimity and passivity, you forgot that you have to try.” The dull tool does indeed still cut.