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Gorgeous and Compelling
Posted by: JimmyEightCats from: New Haven,CT on
Remember that great soundtrack that the guy from Flock of Seagulls did for that Sofia Coppola movie? How about when Kajagoogoo’s Lamahl self released album turned him into a critic’s darling? Don’t remember how those eighties MTV staples reinvented themselves? That’s because they didn’t. They had their one or two hits and are probably playing on a makeshift stage before some “Totally Eighties” dance party as you read this. Brake out the deely bobbers, kids.
Not Aimee Mann: out of all the artists whose haircuts inspired yearbook photos that could only have been taken when Steve Guttenberg was “A” list, she alone has had an artistically worthwhile career. Trained at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Mann not only fronted “Til Tuesday, but played bass and wrote the majority of the band’s songs as well. She even collaborated with Elvis Costello and one time boyfriend Jules Shear. These well respected songwriters certainly never worked with the likes of oh, say, Berlin.
Since then she’s released a series of critically acclaimed solo albums and battled so much record company bull that she and husband Michael Penn formed their own label.
She’s worked closely with wunderkind producer/composer/musician Jon Brion, a onetime fixture of the New Haven, Connecticut music scene.(Hey, I'm from there). Their work on the soundtrack to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia netted Mann an Oscar nomination.
Her latest, “The Forgotten Arm” is a lyrically dark, melodically gorgeous tale of a drug addicted boxer’s return from Viet Nam. Get this: it works-the songs hold up individually and the drama is compelling. Mann had some experience in using music to tell to tell a story: the characters in “Magnolia” sang her songs straight into the camera. It isn’t until you look at the lyrics that you realize how wordy(in the best sense) they are. This literate approach is highlighted by the CD being packaged like a 1940s book, with drawings illustrating each chapter(song).
To be honest, I never followed Mann’s career until a friend of mine gave me a ticket to see her as birthday present. I expected nothing and figured I’d spend most of the night in the bar. I was wrong. She was mesmerizing, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. And I didn’t know a single song. Gorgeous songs and a band so perfect that I bought both of her guitar player’s CDs. One show made me an instant fan.
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An all time favorite
Posted by: KrispyD from: MN on
It's the type of cd you definitely want playing as you relax and unwind at home. It's intelligent and soulful and something you will hum or sing along to for sure. I discovered Aimee Mann after she did the soundtrack for the movie Magnolia and totally fell in love with her. Each time a new cd comes out, I just fall more and more. She is definitely an all-time favorite and I marvel at her work.
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