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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 188
Tues. July 17, 2012

“I Know”
Fiona Apple

1999

“♫ So be it, I’m
your crowbar/ if
that’s what I am
so far/ until you
get out of this
mess
♫”

There are a few moments, soundtrack moments, that I can say listening to a song literally changed my life. Hearing “Strawberry Fields Forever” on vinyl for the first time, opened my ears to rock music; Listening to “The Maker” by Daniel Lanois inspired me to move to New Orleans; and one of the most vivid song memories was experiencing “I Know” by Fiona Apple for the first time. Listening to “I Know” definitely changed my life.

I had just moved alone, depressed and dejected after another failed attempt at love, to a basement apartment with no windows near Pasadena City College. Imagine the kind the desolate room that Ralph Ellison described in his classic novel Invisible Man. I literally lived in shadowed darkness for a few years. [Because of this my eyes are still sensitive to light.] Luckily I got a job at a bookstore in Pasadena. That’s where I met my future wife. Unfortunately, when she first met me I was a mess, confused in the worst kind of emotional headspace but my wife to be was patient. I remember we exchanged mix CD’s, something I used to do to try to make connections with women I was interested in. Unfortunately, I rarely received any mixes that rivaled or equaled my own until I met my future wife. Her mix, to this day, is my favorite mix CD I have ever received.

“I Know” was the last song on her mix and I remember sitting with my lap top, my only light source, as Fiona Apple’s song played for me in the dark. In one moment, it felt like Fiona reached in with “I Know” was singing directly to me. It was amazing. At that moment, listening to this brilliant intimate song, Apple began to heal me with “I Know.” I actually saw my future wife as the lyrical beam of understanding light; I felt touched by her selection of “I Know.” Her song choice literally moved me to tears. My future soul mate and I started going out soon after and we’ve been together ever since. “I Know” Fiona’s one song actually changed my life and directly led to our happy ending— a few years later, we got married in Las Vegas.

Fiona shared the inspiration behind our favorite Apple song from When The Pawn, “I Know” when she said—““I know” was a song I wrote for my boyfriend, or a guy that I was starting to see. We were both in, at this place in our lives where everything was changing; and he had just met me, and he’d referred to me one day as his crowbar, because it was getting him out of the other, changing his life in a certain way where he had been in this one place, but the crowbar and the door was opening, and he was going into a better place. And as soon as he said, “Yeah, you know, you’re like my crowbar.” I know, my mind went, “so far” And then, I wrote this song.

Inspired by a conversation with a former boyfriend, “I Know” was one of the songs that changed my life. That’s the power of song and I really wasn’t a Fiona fan until the moment “I Know” caused a rippled connection that led directly to our future happiness. It’s no coincidence, Fiona Apple told this story, during the taping of her iTunes Originals performance, that originally she told her Mother, while living in New York City, she wanted to take lessons to learn the piano and sing songs to “make people happy.” Mission accomplished, Thank You Fiona. “I Know” is definitely one of the songs that literally saved my life.

If you’re a fan of “I Know” check out this incredible rendition by Elvis Costello. I love what Costello says after singing Apple’s “I Know”— “Fiona wrote that song, that’s a great song.” Yes indeed, Elvis, you have no idea how great and how much “I Know” means to me!

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