When the Pawn... (also known as "When The Pawn Hits The Conflicts He Thinks Like A King What He Knows Throws The Blows When He Goes To The Fight And He'll Win The Whole Thing 'Fore He Enters The Ring There's No Body To Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You'll Know That You're Right") is Fiona Apple's second studio album that was released on November 9, 1999 by Clean Slate/Epic Records.


  1. On The Bound 5:23
  2. To Your Love 3:40
  3. Limp 3:31
  4. Love Ridden 3:22
  5. Paper Bag 3:40
  6. A Mistake 4:58
  7. Fast As You Can 4:40
  8. The Way Things Are 4:18
  9. Get Gone 4:10
  10. I Know 4:57

Album Background[]

The album title is a poem Fiona Apple wrote on tour after reading her Spin magazine's 1997 cover story and the readers' negative letters about her.

Rolling Stone magazine mocked the title/poem, writing, "When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Oh the Hell With It."

According to Apple, "It came from being made fun of and then, of course, it becomes a thing I'm being made fun of for."

Upon its release, the album broke the record for longest album title at 444 characters (which was previously held by a volume in "The Best... Album in the World...Ever!").

Chart Performance[]

"When the Pawn..." peaked at #13 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on Billboard's Top Internet Albums chart.

According to Nielsen Soundscan, sales of the album in the United States had exceeded 922,000 copies as of 2005.

Critical Reception[]

Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone gave the album three-and-a-half out of five stars, and stated: "if you find this twenty-two-year-old bad seed intolerably self-indulgent and were rooting for her to crash and burn with a humiliating second-album spaz-out—admit it, you were—you lose."

Entertainment Weekly's David Browne awarded the album an A grade, praising Jon Brion's production as well as Apple's songwriting: "Apple hasn’t gained much in psychic confidence following the success of Tidal. On When the Pawn..., Apple presents herself as a mental shambles, and she’s more than happy to tell us about it."

Pitchfork rated the album eight out of ten stars, with reviewer Chip Chanko praising Apple's lyrics, writing: "[Apple] seems older. Her voice is full of a heartfelt soul that seems almost timeless. While Billie Holiday would never have considered the possibility of lines like, 'It won't be long till you'll be/ Lying limp in your own hand,' Apple executes them flawlessly with a modern passion."

Amy Linden of Vibe wrote: "When the Pawn... is full of images that resonate. Apple's a sad, sultry woman with a sense of who she is—even if that person isn't someone she wants to be. Once again, her pain brings us joy."

Piers Martin of NME rated it a 5 out of 10, calling it Apples's "second album of [Tori] Amos-aping MTV-branded Lilith Fair fodder."