B-Side: Extraordinary Machine

Extraordinary Machine

Are you ready to Free Fiona? Well, too bad—she’s already free, and has been for, like, 12 years. But that’s not gonna stop us from examining one of the strangest and, oddly, most controversial albums of her career: Extraordinary Machine. Both of them. Since the first, Jon Brion-produced version was held in limbo by Sony for so long, Fiona ended up re-recording the whole album from the ground up with part-time Dr. Dre collaborator Mike Elizondo for its official release. So with two significantly different versions of it in existence, Extraordinary Machine has long been a strange and divisive beast, which is why it was especially fun for us to dive in and dissect the successes and failures of these two disparate machines. Will we discover which producer is best? Or will we come to our senses and finally focus on the impeccable songcraft at the core of the album? Why not both? Also: Weird Al’s hot new single, the year of male consequence, and the shocking return of “Meet Me in Con-Talk.”

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