Thursday, July 10, 2008


"It's a street in a town where winning isn't sweet, and every win is the beginning of defeat..."

Artist: Aimee Mann
Album: @#%&*! Smilers

  1. "Freeway" – 3:50
  2. "Stranger Into Starman" – 1:31
  3. "Looking for Nothing" – 3:46
  4. "Phoenix" – 3:56
  5. "Borrowing Time" – 3:12
  6. "It's Over" – 3:58
  7. "31 Today" – 4:52
  8. "The Great Beyond" – 3:12
  9. "Medicine Wheel" – 4:08
  10. "Columbus Avenue" – 4:06
  11. "Little Tornado" – 3:23
  12. "True Believer" – 3:32
  13. "Ballantines" – 2:21

Though it's consistent in tone and style with Mann's output so far, there's something more to the songs on 'Smilers', an increase in beat that makes the songs snag you more easily. In the past, I've enjoyed her songs but occasionally drifted out of them by halfway through; a small beat does wonders to keep your attention while not diverting the song. However, though the beat can get you through one song, it can't quite pull you through two or three songs.

However, as a fan of Mann's I've always enjoyed her songs on their own, and I'm hoping the album will grow on me. The songs are pretty similar to her former output, maybe even a little too similar, but they work well enough. You can see some similar stuff (the opening beats of "Looking For Nothing" recalls "Ghost World", for example), as well. There doesn't seem to be any songs that pull me in properly, like Lost in Space's "Invisible Ink" or The Forgotten Arm's "Little Bombs". It's a little too laidback.

The closest is lead single "Thirty One Today", which caught my attention initially only because it was the first taste of her new album. That said, it has a little more kick to it than the rest of the album, and a little more diversity in the music. There's something very compelling in the sadness of the song, something I haven't noticed on most of the tracks either. I like the songs, and I think mixed in a shuffle they'll come off better, but it's hard to focus on them because, laid out together as an album, they seem far too similar.

Still, it's a good, solid album from a six (eleven, if you count her 'Til Tuesday work, the Magnolia OST and her Christmas album) album singer. Many artists would be washed up by now, but her music, while not evolving as much as others' seem to, is still solid. Any fan of Mann's, or of piano-driven female singer-songwriters, give it a listen.

Aimee Mann - Thirty One Today
Aimee Mann - The Great Beyond

And remember, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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