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:
"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.
FOR MORE ON AIMEE MANN:
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