When the Pawn...

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When the Pawn...
Fiona apple when the pawn.jpg
Studio album by Fiona Apple
Released November 9, 1999
Recorded 1998–1999
Length 42:39
Label Clean Slate / Epic
Producer Jon Brion
Fiona Apple chronology
When the Pawn...
Extraordinary Machine
Singles from When the Pawn...
  1. "Fast as You Can"
    Released: November 20, 1999
  2. "Limp"
    Released: 2000
  3. "Paper Bag"
    Released: November 21, 2000
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 79/100[3]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[4]
Chicago Sun-Times 3.5/4 stars[5]
Entertainment Weekly A[6]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[7]
NME 5/10[8]
Pitchfork Media 8.0/10[9]
Q 4/5 stars[10]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[11]
Spin 8/10[12]
The Village Voice A−[13]

When the Pawn... is the shortened title of the second album by American singer-songwriter Fiona Apple. The whole title is When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He'll Win the Whole Thing 'fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might so When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You'll Know That You're Right. The album was released by Epic Records in the United States on November 9, 1999.[14]

In 2010, Spin magazine named the album the 106th greatest of the last 25 years.[15] A year later, Slant Magazine named it the 79th best album of the 1990s.[16] The album was also critically and commercially successful and was certified platinum. The album earned a nomination at the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.


The album title is a poem Apple wrote on tour after reading the readers' negative letters about her in the December 1997 issue of Spin magazine.[17]

Rolling Stone magazine made fun of the title/poem, calling it, "When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Oh the Hell With It".[11] "It came from being made fun of," she rued, "and then, of course, it becomes a thing I'm being made fun of for."[18]

The album's title has become a source of trivia. On its release, it broke the record for longest album title at 444 characters (previously held by a volume in The Best... Album in the World...Ever!). However, in October 2007 Soulwax released their remix album Most of the Remixes, which has 100 characters more in its title. This was surpassed in 2008 by Chumbawamba's The Boy Bands Have Won..., whose full title contains 865 characters of text.[19]


The first single, "Fast as You Can", was fairly popular and received moderate radio and video airplay. It reached the top 20 on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and became Apple's first top 40 hit on the UK Singles Chart. The follow-up singles, "Limp" and especially "Paper Bag", which was nominated for a Grammy Award, were less successful. Apple's boyfriend at the time, filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, directed videos for all three singles.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Fiona Apple

No. Title Length
1. "On the Bound"   5:22
2. "To Your Love"   3:40
3. "Limp"   3:29
4. "Love Ridden"   3:22
5. "Paper Bag"   3:39
6. "A Mistake"   4:56
7. "Fast as You Can"   4:38
8. "The Way Things Are"   4:16
9. "Get Gone"   4:07
10. "I Know"   4:55



  • Jon Brion – producer, mixing, assistant engineer
  • Rich Costey – engineer
  • Tom Banghart – assistant engineer
  • Rob Brill – assistant engineer
  • Greg Collins – assistant engineer
  • Bryan Jackson – assistant engineer
  • Steve Mixdorf – assistant engineer
  • John Tyree – assistant engineer
  • Eddy Scheyer – mastering
  • Valerie Pack – production coordination
  • Rich Costey – programming
  • John Bainbridge – arranger
  • Fiona Apple – design, cover art concept


Chart (1999/2000) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[20] 54
UK Albums Chart 46
US Billboard 200 13
US Billboard Top Internet Albums 1
Title Chart (1999) Peak
"Fast as You Can" UK Singles Chart 33
US Billboard Adult Top 40 29
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 20


  1. ^ "AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "Fiona Apple When The Pawn...". PopMatters. Retrieved 7 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "Reviews for When The Pawn... by Fiona Apple". Metacritic. Retrieved April 6, 2016. 
  4. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King... – Fiona Apple". AllMusic. Retrieved April 6, 2016. 
  5. ^ Reed, Bobby (November 14, 1999). "Fiona Apple, 'When the Pawn . . .' (Clean Slate/Epic)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 17, 2016. (subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ Browne, David (November 12, 1999). "When the Pawn...". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 6, 2016. 
  7. ^ Gardner, Elysa (November 9, 1999). "Assured Apple Challenges Her Audience". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 6, 2016. 
  8. ^ "When The Pawn...". NME. Retrieved April 6, 2016. 
  9. ^ Chanko, Chip (December 31, 1999). "Fiona Apple: When the Pawn...". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on February 17, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Fiona Apple: When the Pawn...". Q (162): 101. March 2000. 
  11. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (November 25, 1999). "When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King...". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 6, 2016. 
  12. ^ Weisband, Eric (December 1999). "Fiona Apple: When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King / What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight...". Spin. 15 (12): 215. Retrieved April 6, 2016. 
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 7, 2000). "Consumer Guide: Cleanup Time". The Village Voice. Retrieved April 6, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Fiona Apple – When the Pawn – Amazon.com Music". Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  15. ^ "125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years". Spin. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  16. ^ [1] Archived February 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "Fiona Apple: The Time Is Ripe". Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  18. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil, "Hard Core Pawn", Q, March 2000, pp46-48
  19. ^ Barlass, Tyler (23 August 2009). "No More Stories...". JustPressPlay. Retrieved 9 September 2009. 
  20. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 

External links[edit]