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Preview: Popdose - Latest Comments in Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Popdose - Latest Comments in Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”



Culturally inspired writing.



Last Build Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2008 13:40:02 -0000

 



Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Sat, 12 Jul 2008 13:40:02 -0000

Aimee Mann is great. She's so consistent that in the overcrowded and often cookie cutter indie rock blog world, that may come across as...I don't know, it's like the Richard Thompson/Neil Finn Syndrome: Be consistently great for too long and folks start writing you off as boring or something. No rehab, no paparazzi, just great music.

More great songs from Aimee Mann. Hooray!




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Tue, 08 Jul 2008 14:45:56 -0000

Isn't it about time Aimee stopped writing frist-person songs for people 15 years younger than her? "Ghost World" was a little creepy, but "31 Today"? In base-16, maybe...




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 11:31:44 -0000

There is something to that theory -- artists may bitch and moan that the labels don't understand them and only want hits, but if they're forced to go back to the studio and record a new single or two, it seems to make them dig deeper than they normally would in terms of melody, and the anger they feel toward the label leads them to creative places they didn't think they'd find ... or at least I'd like to think that's how it goes.

Nobody's mentioned "Bachelor No. 2" here. Is that because some of the songs appeared on the "Magnolia" soundtrack first? I think that's her best album, free of label hassles, and then she got complacent with "Lost in Space," which did have three songs I liked, but I sold it back pretty quickly. I never heard "The Forgotten Arm," but I like what I hear on "31 Today," which echoes "Momentum." (Mann's music is pretty perfect for quarter-life crises -- I was all over her albums when I was 24 and 25, then a few years later, once I got some confidence back, I didn't want to listen anymore because her songs reminded me of a bad time in my life.) "I'm With Stupid" is pretty great too, but I could never get into "Whatever" beyond a few songs.




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Fri, 04 Jul 2008 00:16:46 -0000

I agree, although I gave up after "Starman." My review was a little less kind. She hasn't been the same since she stopped working with Jon Brion.




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Thu, 03 Jul 2008 13:18:41 -0000

I'll chime in here and agree that Lost In Space is terrific. I rank it just a sliver below "Whatever".




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Thu, 03 Jul 2008 10:44:27 -0000

You and me both -- I think Lost in Space is her most consistent album. I haven't heard Smilers. I'll see if I can listen to it over at lala.com. I want to like it, but unless Mann comes up with a new bag of tricks, I probably won't. Everything I hear from her after Lost in Space sounds like a less interesting variation on what's gone before. I think she needs to mix it up a little to get the juices flowing again. Maybe pair up with Alison Krauss for a bluegrass album or something. Or perhaps team up with Al Stewart for an album of material about the French Revolution (or the topic of whatever history book Al's been reading recently). Sing another duet with Geddy Lee. Something. Anything.




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Thu, 03 Jul 2008 10:36:10 -0000

If you want to be more polite, you can take the Battlestar Galactica route and call it "Frakking Smilers." :)




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Thu, 03 Jul 2008 08:33:08 -0000

I know -- I typically say that, too -- I think for me, it's just the "Smilers" part. It just seems so... I don't know. Unaesthetically pleasing.




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Wed, 02 Jul 2008 23:31:38 -0000

Bingo. The title comes from a blog heading that she stumbled upon and found hilarious.




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Wed, 02 Jul 2008 23:05:43 -0000

It's not that it's a bad album, but it's certainly not her best work. However, it's better than her last two solo albums.




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Wed, 02 Jul 2008 23:04:06 -0000

Since Aimee is fond of the word "fuck" and uses it in many of her songs, I just figure the title of the CD is "Fucking Smilers."




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Wed, 02 Jul 2008 21:29:47 -0000

Sorry, but for my money, this one isn't even playing the same sport as Welcome Home, Everything's Different Now, Whatever or . It's a fine record, but compared to the fucking brilliant records she made before this, it just doesn't measure up.




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Wed, 02 Jul 2008 20:26:34 -0000

I dig Aimee Mann OK, but I have to admit, this is one of the worst TITLES of a record like EVER. Seriously. The title just makes me cringe so much.

Not talking about the album contents here or nothin', though, just the title.




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Wed, 02 Jul 2008 19:29:20 -0000

Are we all listening to the same album? I think this is the best thing I've heard this year, hands down. What's not to like?




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Wed, 02 Jul 2008 18:49:03 -0000

I saw her at Largo during the time when Smilers was being recorded and she made a point to mention the fact that it was, for the most part, a guitar-free production environment. Unless its in the capable hands of Ben Folds or E, piano, bass, drums can get old real fast.

I totally agree with the comment about her sounding like she's asleep. She's in such a comfort zone that she's gotten extremely lazy.




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Wed, 02 Jul 2008 16:54:53 -0000

Well, I think you might have something with your theory there. I thought 'Til Tuesday was getting better and better with each album -- even though the line up was getting smaller and smaller.

I'm not sure who was rubber stamping records like The Forgotten Arm and Lost in Space, but it sure wasn't me. I wanted to like those records, but I just wasn't feeling it. "I Was Thinking I Could Clean Up For Christmas" came up on my iPod the other day, and I got about half way through it and had to change it.




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Wed, 02 Jul 2008 16:46:58 -0000

I've been listening to this CD on and off since I bought it last week, and I keep coming back to "31 Today" as one of the "hookiest" tunes on the album. Maybe because it's the most 'Til Tuesday sounding song Mann's done in a long time.




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Wed, 02 Jul 2008 15:01:24 -0000

Yeah, so far, I haven't been able to warm up to this one at all. I'm with David -- it's as if no one's telling her she sounds like she's asleep, she forgot to write any hooks or that the instrumentation makes no sense for half the songs. "Columbus Ave." is the only standout for me so far.

I seem to remember critics loving "Lost in Space" at the time, and now everyone's soured on it. That's strange to me. I still think it's brilliant. Find me a hook on "Smilers" as good as anything from "Humpty Dumpty," "Pavlov's Bell" or the titletrack, and I'll listen again.




Re: Listening Booth: Aimee Mann, “@#%&*! Smilers”

Wed, 02 Jul 2008 13:57:46 -0000

I love Mann as much as anyone, but I'm officially calling shenanigans on the blanket rubber-stamping of her records (though I did really like The Forgotten Arm. She can do better than this, and it's time we held her up to her lofty standards.

My personal theory: the major labels actually made her work harder, and thus she made better records. She answers to no one now, and has gotten complacent. Sigh.