I Know

Album: When The Pawn... (1999)
Play Video


  • Many of Fiona Apple's early songs are postmortems of broken relationships. "I Know" is about a boyfriend who didn't last very long, but gave her a key word for a song.

    This guy was in a transitional phase, with a lot of changes in his life. He told Apple she was his "crowbar," meaning she pried open a new life for him. Apple often starts a song with a single word, and that's the word that kicked off "I know." In the first line, she sings:

    So be it, I'm your crowbar
    If that's what I am so far

    Much of the song is about how this guy is using her for his own purposes, which didn't sit well with Fiona.
  • Apple's producer, Jon Brion, used an orchestra on this track. Legendary session man Jim Keltner played drums, and Mike Elizondo played upright bass. Elizondo ended up producing most of the tracks on Apple's next album, Extraordinary Machine.
  • This smoky ballad is the last track on Fiona Apple's second album, When The Pawn..., which deals in large part with Apple's love interests. When the album was released, she was dating the director Paul Thomas Anderson, who was seven year older.
  • Elvis Costello covered this in 2006 when he and Apple performed at the "Elvis Costello & Friends" episode of the VH1 Decades Rock series. Apple suggested the song; even though it is very personal to her, she felt Costello could handle it, and was thrilled with his rendition. Apple sang Costello's "I Want You" on the show.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Divided Souls: Musical Alter Egos

Divided Souls: Musical Alter EgosSong Writing

Long before Eminem, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj created alternate personas, David Bowie, Bono, Joni Mitchell and even Hank Williams took on characters.

Ed Roland of Collective Soul

Ed Roland of Collective SoulSongwriter Interviews

The stories behind "Shine," "December," "The World I Know" and other Collective Soul hits.

Reverend Horton Heat

Reverend Horton HeatSongwriter Interviews

The Reverend rants on psychobilly and the egghead academics he bashes in one of his more popular songs.

Joe Ely

Joe ElySongwriter Interviews

The renown Texas songwriter has been at it for 40 years, with tales to tell about The Flatlanders and The Clash - that's Joe's Tex-Mex on "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

Eric Clapton

Eric ClaptonFact or Fiction

Did Eric Clapton really write "Cocaine" while on cocaine? This question and more in the Clapton edition of Fact or Fiction.

Carl Sturken

Carl SturkenSongwriter Interviews

Hitmaker Carl Sturken on writing and producing for Rihanna, 'N Sync, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Donny Osmond, Shakira and Karyn White.