Fiona Apple was signed to a major label in 1995 on the strenght of a demo tape of a few songs. She was 18, and a major label signing an unknown teenager was possible only because we now know (in retrospect) that 1995-96 were the heydays of the "alternative music" scene, and anything was possible.
"Tidal" (10 tracks, 51 min.), released almost 8 years to the day, was auspicious in many respects. The confessional writing style, the jazzy-smokey pop (don't even think Norah Jones, but more a jazzier Tori Amos or Aimee Mann), it all struck a cord. And a few killer songs helped tremendously of course. "Shadowboxer" became a breakout hit, and justifiably so, it still sounds good today, 8 years later. Other oustanding tracks include the opener "Sleep to Dream", "The First Taste" (with great lyrics like "Darling Just Start the Chase/I'll Let You Win/But You Must Make the Endeavour"), and "Pale September", featuring the vibraphone which is used throughout the album, very effectively. However, the very best of them all "Never Is A Promise", a haunting ballad.
Since "Tidal", Fiona has released only one other album (1999's oustanding "When The Pawn"), but supposedly we will finally see a new album later this year. Meanwhile, "Tidal" is aging quite nicely. Strongly recommended!