Critical Fatwa

All hail that doe-eyed siren known as 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 heard 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 this didn't happen. For treating us like fools, Epic, we hand you a stinging fatwa!

In a recent press release, Epic has crowed that soon we will be able to hear the newly completed album. We believe that we -- along with everyone else who cares in the least about Fiona Apple -- have already heard this album. Perhaps you brought in a new producer for this release and ditched Jon Brion. But we have a name for that: a remix album! The bigwigs at Epic know that we know about the advance version. Yet they treat us as if they were a Lothario caught in another's embrace: Whom will you believe, them or your lying eyes?

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

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