Paper Bag (song)

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"Paper Bag"
Fiona Apple, Paper Bag.jpg
Single by Fiona Apple
from the album When the Pawn...
ReleasedNovember 21, 2000 (U.S.)
Songwriter(s)Fiona Apple
Fiona Apple singles chronology
"Fast as You Can"
"Paper Bag"
"Parting Gift"

"Paper Bag" is a song by American singer-songwriter Fiona Apple, released as the third single from her second studio album, When the Pawn... (1999).[2][3] The song earned Apple a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the 43rd Grammy Awards (2001).

Background and composition[edit]

Apple wrote "Paper Bag" following an experience in which she mistook a plastic bag for a dove. The event took place in Los Angeles following recording sessions for her previous studio album, Tidal (1996); Apple, reportedly upset at the time, was a passenger in a car being driven by her father.[4]

Allmusic's Matthew Greenwald described "Paper Bag" as having a "loose, almost ragtime" melody and rhythm pattern, with an "up and down" chord pattern creating a "funky, looping feel".[3] The Record noted the "infectious" song includes "Beatlesesque horns".[5] The Boston Globe classified it as a "piano ditty" that "owes equally to Kurt Weill and Paul McCartney,"[6] while The Buffalo News noted that it "provides a more contemporary hip hop sound" than other songs on her album.[7]


Matthew Greenwald of Allmusic wrote that "Paper Bag" was one of the more accessible, "inspiring" tracks from the album. Greenwald appreciated Don Sweeney's horn arrangement, which he called "joyous".[3] In 2012, Bob Gendron of the Chicago Tribune opined, "A midst a backdrop of gently brushed drums, 'Paper Bag' highlighted an ugly tempestuousness at odds with its breezy cabaret melody."[8] In the "Rolling Stone Special Nineties Edition," the song was ranked as the 29th best song of the '90s.[9]

The song is considered a "fan favorite".[10][11] It earned Apple a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the 43rd Grammy Awards (2001).[12]

Music video[edit]

Paul Thomas Anderson directed the music video for "Paper Bag", which features a blue-and-red palette.[13] Anderson and Apple were in a romantic relationship at the time.[14][15]

Usage in media[edit]

"Paper Bag" was featured in the 2006 film The Last Kiss[16] and the 2011 film Bridesmaids.[17]


  1. ^ "UNCUT (UK) - Mar 2000". Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King..." Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Greenwald, Matthew. "Paper Bag". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  4. ^ Lee, Dan P. (June 17, 2012). "'I Just Want to Feel Everything': Hiding Out with Fiona Apple, Musical Hermit". Vulture. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  5. ^ Ivry, Bob (November 9, 1999). "Apple Sounds Alarm to Potential Lovers". The Record. North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved February 1, 2013. (subscription required)
  6. ^ Anderman, Joan (November 9, 1999). "Apple Wraps Intimacy, Agony in Lush Sound". The Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. Retrieved February 1, 2013. (subscription required)
  7. ^ Violanti, Anthony (November 19, 1999). "Discs". The Buffalo News. Stanford Lipsey. Retrieved February 1, 2013. (subscription required)
  8. ^ Gendron, Bob (March 20, 2012). "Fiona Apple's intense comeback show riveting at Lincoln Hall". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Company. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  9. ^ Rolling Stone The Nineties Special Edition. The Rolling Stone. pp. 86–95.
  10. ^ "For The Record: Quick News On Fiona Apple And Jon Brion, Sean Paul, Brooke Valentine, Incubus, Tommy Lee & More". MTV. Viacom Media Networks. August 22, 2005. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  11. ^ "Fiona Apple Receives Best Pop Vocal Album Grammy Nomination". Business Wire (Press release). December 8, 2005. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  12. ^ Reese, Lori (January 24, 2001). "Em Again: The staid Recording Academy courts controversy for their 43rd annual awards". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. ISSN 1049-0434. OCLC 21114137. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  13. ^ Wickman, Forrest (September 13, 2012). "The Minor Works of Paul Thomas Anderson". Slate. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  14. ^ Light, Alan (February 2000). "On a Wire". Spin. SPIN Media LLC. 16 (2): 64. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  15. ^ Cruz, Gilbert; Ebiri, Bilge (September 15, 2012). "The Master vs. Resident Evil: A Short Guide on How to Tell Paul Thomas Anderson and Paul W.S. Anderson Apart". Vulture. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  16. ^ "The Last Kiss (2006) Soundtrack". Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  17. ^ Davis, Edward (April 15, 2011). "'Bridesmaids' Soundtrack Features Fiona Apple, Inara George, Hole, Blondie & Wilson Phillips". IndieWire. Snagfilms. Retrieved February 1, 2013.