Fetch The Bolt Cutters

Album: Fetch The Bolt Cutters (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • Bolt cutters are used to cut through locks or fencing; in this song, they're a metaphor for freeing yourself from your mental and emotional shackles. "It's about breaking out of whatever prison you've allowed yourself to live in, whether you built that prison for yourself or whether it was built around you and you just accepted it," she explained to Vulture. "The message in the whole record is just: Fetch the f--king bolt cutters and get yourself out of the situation that you're in - whatever it is that you don't like."
  • This is the title track to Fiona Apple's first album since The Idler Wheel... was released eight years earlier. The delay isn't unusual - the album before that came out in 2005.

    Apple got the phrase "fetch the bolt cutters" from a 2013 episode of the British TV series The Fall, where Gillian Anderson's character says the phrase in a scene where she's trying to break into a room to free a young girl.
  • Apple looks back on her childhood traumas in this song before declaring she's moving past them:

    Fetch the bolt cutters I've been in here too long

    Growing up, she lived in New York City with her mother and older sister. In school, she didn't fit in and was often ridiculed for being weird. Her classmates had no idea she was writing songs that whole time and had a wellspring of musical talent. In the lyric, she sings about some of her coping mechanisms for dealing with the ridicule, like trying to make friends with her tormentors. None of it worked, but looking back she can see their approval shouldn't have mattered anyway - her bullies were among the hoards who "don't know s--t."
  • Apple had the phrase "Fetch The Bolt Cutters" written on a chalkboard in her house while she was working on the album. She knew it would be the title to the album, but didn't plan to use it as a song title. When she finished the album, she decided there was one song missing, which is when she wrote the title track.
  • Fiona Apple is very reclusive, but she and the outgoing Taylor Swift have something in common: They're both friends with the model Cara Delevingne. Apple brought Delevingne to her house to sing on the title line. When she came by, she brought her two dogs, who along with Apple's dog Mercy and Apple's housemate Zelda Hallman's dog Maddie, started playing and barking when they recorded the last section. Instead of re-recording it, Apple left in the pooch sounds. The four dogs are listed in the credits for "backing barks."
  • Before the album was released, Apple got a tattoo of bolt cutters on her right forearm.

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