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New Fiona Apple: The no-longer Sullen Girl covers a jazz classic

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No one can blame Fiona Apple for taking quite a bit of time off after 2005’s Extraordinary Machine — an album that endured several release-date changes, two producers and an entire re-recording. So maybe absence made my heart grow fonder, but I am really digging her new cover of “Why Try to Change Me Now.” The song, a jazzy standard from famed composer/pianist Cy Coleman, is soft, gorgeous and, above all, restrained. The lyrics seem curiously relevant to Apple’s personality too, as she croons about living in her own strange world and not being conventional. (That’s why we love you, Fiona: because you’re not.) The song is included in a Coleman tribute EP, Then Was Then, And Now Is Now, alongside covers from Patty Griffin and Nikka Costa, among others:

Fiona is no stranger to covers. For my money, her take on The Beatles’ “Across the Universe” is not only better than Rufus Wainwright’s, but better than the original itself.Yes. I went there — Beatles fans, ready your pitchforks! (But listen toher version below before hitting the comment board.) Both songs gotme thinking: what are the best covers by a modern-day chanteuse? Somethat immediately came to mind: Norah Jones’ “Cold Cold Heart”, Cat Power’s “Sea of Love”, Madeleine Peyroux’s “Between the Bars.” Do you agree, readers?

Apple’s version of “Across the Universe”

More on Fiona Apple:
The real story behind Fiona Apple’s ‘Machine’
Fiona Apple on why her new CD took six years
Talking with Sheryl Crow and Fiona Apple