It’s been a year since Fiona Apple released her latest record The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. Since her tour last summer, we haven’t heard much from her, but I’d be surprised if her newly-released video of “Hot Knife”, directed by filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master, Magnolia), doesn’t renew interest in the album and put Apple back on the charts for a little while. (The Idler Wheel… initially peaked at Number 3 on the Billboard 200.)
I’ve liked “Hot Knife” ever since I heard it, but the catchiness and multi-layered-ness of the song is really brought out by Anderson’s split-screen effects. Themed visually around Apple playing a tympani, as vocal layers are added by Apple and her sister (cabaret vocalist Maude Maggart), the screen splits three, and then five, times. It’s highly artistic, highly creative, and captivating to watch.
It seems like famous movie directors directing music videos is becoming a thing—it has been only a few weeks since Nine Inch Nails released the potentially seizure-inducing “Come Back Haunted” directed by David Lynch (seriously, there’s a seizure warning)—but the fact is that this at least is the fourth time Apple has turned to Paul Thomas Anderson for a music video. (He previously worked on “Limp,” “Fast As You Can” and “Paper Bag.”) Of these, “Hot Knife” is currently my favorite. Take a look!