AIMEE MANN, I want to make out with you so much.


After considering my words regarding Joan Jett the other day, I started thinking about a few of the other female musicians I've had crushes on. The list isn't all that long, so please don't take me for a groupie. I'd go gay for Joan Jett. I'm pretty sure my little crush on the Distillers' Brody Dalle has something to do with that former crush. I'd let Cat Power's Chan Marshall go all crazy apeshit on me, as I'm sure only she can.

But Aimee Man... I'd marry Aimee Mann. I would make Aimee Mann tea for breakfast every morning. I would sit and listen to her talk and nod and smile and marvel at how much smarter she is than me. And I'd be perfectly happy with that.

If you don't know who Aimee Mann is, you may still know who she is... She was in a band from Boston called 'Til Tuesday, and they were famous for a hit called "Voices Carry." (One of their minor hits that I've always liked is "Coming Up Close." You can definitely feel the 80s in there, but it's still a great vocal.) I remember being strangely attracted to her back then. She looked like a vampire... big eyes and this freaky white hair, and serious as a heart attack. Some guys out there will get this one: she's Martha Plimpton hot... not conventionally beautiful but like a girl you meet at a party and you just know she's cool as shit and has a great book and record collection back home. Plus, it's no secret -- I love a girl with a guitar.

After 'Til Tuesday disbanded, she embarked on a solo career and experienced something that will always attract me to a musician: record label hell. She fought for, and bought back, the masters to her third solo album and sold them through her own label. That album is the now classic BACHELOR No. 2. Paul Thomas Anderson used her music as the basis for "Magnolia," and Mann was nominated for an Academy Award.

I have to admit, I slept for a while on her last album, LOST IN SPACE. Looking back on it, I was a fool. It's a little on the dark, slower side, but the production is stellar, sounding like some kind of mash of Radiohead and Bob Dylan. I've already posted "This is How it Goes" on this site, but you should really check it out if you didn't grab it last time. As someone who has known a drug addict or two, I think it's a pretty accurate summary of the helpless feeling you get when someone's addiction is way more powerful than anything you have to offer.

"So I'll try to hold on
while you try to let go.
You won't tell me it's gone
but baby, I'll know.
Baby, I'll know."

And just who in the hell is her lead guitar player?! Damn good, that's who. His or her work on "Guys Like Me" (from the same album) is nimble and soulful. I like a guitar solo that doesn't call too much attention to itself as some sort of noodly showoff moment, and the one in this song does just that. (I also recommend checking out "High On Sunday 51," from your local download shoppe.)

Her new album, THE FORGOTTEN ARM, just came out and it's a step in a more... well, not so much "upbeat," but maybe a little more uptempo direction. It's mature and thoughtful, with a ton of great lyrics that tell the story of a boxer and his love as they flee to the coast (or something... come on, I've only heard the thing twice). Check out:

"Dear John"
"That's How I Knew This Story Would Break My Heart"

Of course, all this fawning is pointless. She's got Micheal Penn, and I guess she'll just have to settle for him in this lifetime over me. At least in this divorce, I get to keep the music.


Stream The Forgotten Arm from her website. Check out the lyrics, too.
The main page there.
Aimee Mann in print.
For the musicians out there, Aimee Mann tablature



Anonymous said...

OK, I make out with Joan Jett too..but how about PJ Harvey??
There is just something about her. Maybe its cuz I like em crazy...hmmmm

Jim Quoyle said...

I seriously considered stalking Juliana Hatfield in the early '90s.

Lee said...

I used to like Aimee Mann, but lately her music has just been the same stuff, over and over. "Whatever" is probably her best work, but unfortunately the last couple of albums have bored me.

Actually, I won't get the topic of what I think of *her* but I will say she used Dave Gregory and broke his heart (amazing ex-XTC guitarist) and there's no excuse for that in my book.

Dylan Gaughan said...

That's cool... something to keep in mind if I'm actually ever in the sitation where I'm about to marry her. Otherwise, I try not to care too much about the personal lives of a lot of these folks. If I did, I'd probably have to not listen to any more Ray Davies, John Lennon, Miles Davis, Rolling Stones... all pricks, any one of which you could paint a loathsome picture of if you focused on all of their worst decisions.

You're right in the fact that her stuff gets a little samey. I guess I just try to pay attention to the little flourishes when I'm considering an artist's career. I pointed out "Getting High on 51" because I think that one is at least a departure for her. AC/DC have been making the same album, but you can tell the good ones from the bad ones.

ogmb said...

missy does too!

Lee said...

Dylan...yeah, I know what you mean. Normally I try to not learn too much about artists whose music I enjoy. Unfortunately, with Aimee I stumbled across stuff I wasn't intending to discover.

AC/DC have been making the same album because that's what their fans demand. I like artists to grow, experiment, try new things, progress, etc. I totally think it's ok for an artist to challenge their fans with some new direction or sound, as long as it's not a huge sell-out move (eg: Liz Phair).

alex said...

High on Sunday was a mixtape staple for a long time before letting everything else on that album sink in (like Lee said it all seems to feel the same for a long time). Now I'm a big "Today's The Day" advocate. Probably because of the Jon Brion vibesbellz. Did anyone talk about the "Invisible Ink" strings yet? I can't remember where we started with this whole Aimee Mann discussion.

thevitaminkid said...

I love Aimee Mann. I would recommend her concert DVD, Live at St Anne's I think is the title. It comes with a CD as well. My only complaint is that her band essentially tries to replicate the album arrangements, which they do very well, but one hopes for something more in a live setting.

Having said all this, I doubt I will buy the new CD, because I'm not hearing anything new and exciting -- I'm afraid she's in a rut, compositionally speaking.

Speaking of Dave Gregory, I was just listening to XTC tonight. Dave was an unsung hero of that band, unsung because he didn't write the material. But Apple Venus vol 2 was like a hollow shell without Dave. He was apparently responsible for fleshing out their music into the orchestral pop masterpieces they produced.