I adore this song. It would be nothing without Fiona Apple though. She brings all the raw emotion to it.
Andrew: I don’t believe everything happens for a reason
Fiona: To us romantics out here, that amounts to high treason
What begins as an internal conflict of Andrew Bird’s, soon becomes a quarrel between lovers as Fiona Apple’s growling vocals retort. I think it’s about Andrew’s conflict over writing a love song – does he believe everything happens for a reason? Or is love logical?
It soon takes the role of two lovers having an argument.
I first thought the song was a bit all over the place in terms of melody. But the lyrics kept getting stuck in my head so I found myself replaying it over and over again. It’s Andrew’s pining voice and the melancholy of his violin against Fiona’s rough and emotional vocals that I love because it tells a story of disagreeing lovers.
I love the writing – all your left-handed kisses and backhanded love songs.
The point your song here misses
Is that if you really loved me
You’d risk more than a few 50 cent
Words in your backhanded love song
The bridge of the song shows that they are accepting that they’ve had an argument and are ready to move on. This comes after their vocals begin to harmonise and weave in and out of each other’s lines.
It could also be interpreted as Andrew deciding on how he feels about love.
Andrew: Now it’s time for a handsome little bookend
Fiona: Now it’s time to tie up all the loose ends
Andrew: Am I still a skeptic or did you make me a believer?
But I love how the final line is a threat from Fiona Apple. It echoes her very angry songs (that I love). She’s not to be messed with!
Fiona: If you hesitate, you’ll hear the click of the receiver
I recommend watching the live version – I think it shows off the emotion better.