Fast As You Can

Album: When The Pawn... (1999)
Charted: 33

Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Fiona Apple issues fair warning to any guy who might consider dating her: "Run. As fast as you can."

    She's not playing the vixen or the victim, but telling it like it is. Her active mind, iron will and artistic inclinations make her incredibly seductive, but are more than any delicate man can handle.

    Ever since she spoke her mind at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, Apple has been labeled "crazy." In this song, and several others in her catalog, she wears it like a designer dress:

    O darling, it's so sweet
    You think you know how crazy I am


    One relationship of influence Apple had leading up to this song was with the magician David Blaine, whom she dated in 1997. They remained friends.
  • Apple's first album, Tidal, was released when she was 18 and doing her best to navigate a strange showbiz world that was antithetical to her values. At the request of her record company, she wrote a hit song: "Criminal," but it quickly became clear that she was not going to be a pop star. Apple's music is intertwined with her psyche, complete with all the rough edges and rabbit holes. On her second album, When the Pawn..., she was even more visceral, which thrilled her fanbase but didn't expand her reach. "Fast as You Can" was the first single, and while it got airplay on Adult Contemporary and Alternative radio, it didn't make the pop charts. Songs this intense rarely do:

    My pretty mouth will frame the phrases
    That will disprove your faith in man
  • This is a very percussive song with an intriguing keyboard sound that drives the track. Apple played piano on the track, and Patrick Warren added both Wurlitzer electric and Chamberlain, which is a close relative of the Mellotron. There is no guitar or bass on the song.
  • The video was directed Paul Thomas Anderson, who was dating Apple at the time. His film Boogie Nights was released in 1997, followed by Magnolia, which came out in 1999 soon after When the Pawn... was released. Anderson and Apple used many of the same musicians, including Jon Brion, who did the music for Magnolia and produced When the Pawn.... Anderson also directed Apple's videos for "Limp" and "Paper Bag."
  • The album title is usually rendered as When the Pawn..., but is really 90 words long, comprising a poem Apple wrote after seeing her 1997 Spin magazine cover story, which said she "has become a persona." The fill 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, cause you'll know that you're right

    Guinness recognized it at the longest album title ever, a record that's not hard to break. A Belgian group called Soulwax claimed the record in 2007 with a compilation album 103-words long, and the following year, Chumbawumba topped it with 160 words, which is when Guinness retired the record. Apple has the distinction of longest title among albums to chart in the US.

Comments: 10

  • Mariah from New York, NyThere's not 90 words in the album title...?
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnSuch a cool song, love those brutual lyrics.
  • Fiona from Nycity, AlIt's a love/hate relationship that Fiona just can't let go of. We all have at least "one" of those! Or will! ;P
  • Peaches from Minneapolis, MnI absolutely love this song, it's one of my favorites on the album (Paper Bag by far is the best though). Extraordinary Machine is the bomb too! Good going Fiona!
  • Christine from Belmont, NhThis song is awesome... It took me about a week to be able to sing along to it... I'm usually pretty quick with these things... She is such a dominating. strong person and so sure of herself and this song says just that...
  • Dylann from Los Angeles, Cafinally a good song on this album...i feel bad that this one wasnt as good as the others. she totallly redeemed herself with extraordiary machine though. most definitely.
  • Dennis from Chicagoland Burrows, IlThis song is awesome. Paul Thomas Anderson directed the video for it, they were involved at the time, and her more recent album "Extraordinary Machine" is based on her split with him.
  • Aja from Gloucester, Mai love fiona apple, and i think this song has alot of rythem and imagination...well done.
  • Lisa from Cranberry Hill, CtI think it also sounds like she's talking about drugs (and a relationship at the same time.) I mean, think of drugs, read the lyrics, you can see what I mean...
  • Whitnee from Portland, Oryeah, I agree... basically, it's about her having issues that destroy people who get close to her... maybe it's her expression of being hesitant to opening up to ppl and letting them in
see more comments

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