October 17, 2005 12:00 PM

Extraordinary Machine

The evolution of Fiona Apple’s much-delayed third CD, which finally sees the light of day six years after the singer-pianist’s last release, has even more drama than her songs. The album was rumored to be shelved by her label, sending fans into an uproar, and while an earlier version of the disc had been leaked on the Internet, Apple rerecorded most of these tunes with a new producer. The upshot: Extraordinary Machine was worth all the fuss. With her smoky-voiced jazz shadings, Apple is ripe for romantic conflict on such quirky modern-day torch songs as “Parting Gift,” on which she tells her ex, “Oh, you silly, stupid pastime of mine/You were always good for a rhyme.”

DOWNLOAD THIS: “Parting Gift”

R & B

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