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Aimee Mann


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Falls quite neatly under alternative pop, though I hate to put her in that category, since it makes her sound less original than I think she is. Some of her stuff has more of a rock edge, and I consider her beautiful and fierce, though not in the typical sense. (eperkins@surfbest.net)

Mellow pop/rock, pop/folk. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Status:

Most recent album, Mental Illness (2017)

See also:

Aimee Mann's official home page

Wikipedia's entry on Aimee Mann

The Ectophiles' Guide entry for 'Til Tuesday, the band Aimee Mann was with before she went solo.

Comparisons:

No one comes to mind immediately, she's such an original. (eperkins@surfbest.net)

Covers/own material:

Mostly own, some co-written.

General comments:

I had heard great things about her and picked up I'm With Stupid, which I promptly stored away for a year or so. Then I saw her live, mostly because of her opening act, and saw immediately what everyone was raving about. I started playing I'm With Stupid again, picked up the EP version of Bachelor No. 2, and have been a fan ever since. She is one of those artists who manages to stand out despite being more radio-friendly than most of the artists I usually like. No one can craft a pop song like she can, and the slightly detached, perfectly annunciated way she sings suits her voice perfectly. Her lyrics and the way she sings also manage to convey more depth and emotion than one might realize on first listen. (eperkins@surfbest.net)

I prefer Aimee Mann's solo work over her 'Til Tuesday work; it has more "depth" in my opinion. (Yves.Denneulin@imag.fr)

Solo Aimee Mann is less, well, early '80s in sound. She's been singing in a lower, richer voice, and writing perfect little gems of pop songs, with pointed clever lyrics and production—xtc or squeeze would perhaps be better reference points than "voices carry." I recommend her solo albums whole-heartedly. (bossert@suddensound.com)

Aimee Mann isn't the best singer or the most original songwriter, but there's something appealing about the way she uses her abilities. (Neile)

Love her solo work but her basslines for 'Til Tuesday were utterly faboo. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

I love Aimee, her songwriting skills are flawless. (RocketsTail@aol.com)

her voice is not consistently beautiful—it can be nasal, maybe a git gawky and contrary. but on something like "Moth" from Lost in Space voice and style really click, and it's lovely.
     one of my favorite lyricists, ecto or not, is Aimee Mann. i think she is misinterpreted by a lot of folks, who take her lyrics as confessional and morose. i find her sly, clever, and insightful, self-aware but not as self-absorbed as the "average" soul-baring singer-songwriter. and i think almost all of her songs have a created persona behind them, which makes them little puzzles. this was explicit, of course, on The Forgotten Arm but has been there since her 'Til Tuesday days. she also has a knack for meter, rhyme, and word choice that reminds me of the best of, say, Elvis Costello or even Cole Porter. I'm not sure where to start recommending particular songs, lessee, "Fifty years After the Fair", "Stupid Thing", "Long Shot" (for the devastating twist at the end), "Frankenstein", "Fall of the World's Own Optimist", um, "Jacob Marley's Chain". etc. (bossert@suddensound.com)

Comments about live performance:

Aimee Mann was quite wonderful at the Birchmere tonight. Not as giddy as when I saw her a year or so ago, but still in a pretty good mood. She was accompanied by a keyboardist and percussionist (and more). The latter, Buddy, was with her on the final 'Til Tuesday tour. She played stuff from all solo albums, plus "Other End of the Telescope" from Everything's Different Now. She made up a few songs to fill tuning time and as a birthday ditty for someone, and invited up an audience member to play bass on "Stupid Thing" (I think that's the right song). She also played a lot of songs from her forthcoming album Bachelor No. 2 (or the last remains of the dodo), and had cool 7-song promo discs with many of the songs that will be on it. (8/99, neal)

Then it was Aimee. She was looking very relaxed, if painfully thin. Backing band consisted of her producer (John somebody?) on electric guitar and MiniMoog, a guy called Chuck on drums and Martin on bass. These last 2 had been drafted in for the evening, and Aimee said they didn't know most of the songs. Indeed, Martin had the chords written on a pad in front of him! Aimee's voice was as gorgeous as ever!
     Aimee opened with a new song (at least I didn't recognize it—assume it's off called I'm With Stupid). Then the rest of the evening was requests, which (un)surprisingly enough were all off of called Whatever. She played "I Should've Known," "4th of July," "Mr. Harris" and "Stupid Thing." During "Should've Known" she forgot the words, and throughout bass and drums were picking up the backing about halfway through each song! Very relaxed and informal evening.
     All too soon, her slot was over, as there was another band to come on. However, we all created so much noise that she came back to play one more, "Sugar Coated" which again I assume is off the new album. Ended with a huge amount of sub-grunge guitar work from John the producer. (c. 1995, bridgesm@logica.co.uk)

Loads o' good music, and yes, Aimee is still wonderful live. First time I saw her, she put down her bass for the final song, picked up a tambourine, and said, "And now for my Susan Dey impersonation." (burka@jeffrey.net)

Man, I thought Aimee Mann was a killer bass player (and I play bass myself, and was always inspired by her). She had that funky slap bass going really well, and I was incredibly disappointed when she stopped playing it (After/during the second 'Til Tuesday album). She played that bass like it was just an extension of herself and I was blown away every time (and there were lots) I saw her live. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

I saw the Aimee Mann/Michael Penn "Acoustic Cabaret" show a couple of nights ago and it was *fantastic*. I almost didn't go, since I've seen Aimee several times before and it was pretty expensive, but a friend who's a big Aimee fan and had never seen her live was going to be in town that day, so I bought tix for us. I'm so glad I did! This is an incredibly fun evening. I'd read that a comedian did their between-song patter, which sounded like a dubious concept, but I actually found the comedian, Patton Oswald, absolutely hilarious. Your mileage may vary, of course. :) (5/00, trow@interbridge.com)

I saw Aimee Mann and Michael Penn in their "Acoustic Vaudeville" tour last night at the Shepherd's Bush Empire: Two of the best singer/songwriters around, two people I'd give my left arm to see on their own, and it was—well, rather ordinairy. From the name of the tour, I had expected more of a concept, something different, but it was very much a concert like any other. Sad to say (and I know I risk flaming for saying this) Aimee is not the most charismatic performer, even less so than when i saw her the last time she toured England (I think about four years ago). Michael Penn was marginally better, but the idea of having a stand-up comedian to do their between song banter turned out to be inspired. The sound was pretty good, the band excellent, with Patrick Warren lending his vast talents and instrumentation (will somebody tell me what kind of thing it is that he plays that makes that unique noise? It looked like a pedal/steel guitar from where I was)—it was all tight, entertaining enough, but kind of laid back and uninspired. I kept hoping they'd crank it up a gear, but they never did. Just as they looked like they were beginning to have fun, (a particularly uproarious version of Penn's "Brave New World") it was over. (7/00, adamk@zoom.co.uk)

I saw Acoustic Vaudeville in June, just before the end of this us leg and enjoyed it *tremendously*.
     This was the 4th time I've seen Aimee and I think all 4 shows have been wonderful. While I know what you mean about her charisma when actually performing (she has a tendency to stand at her mic and be very still like a deer in headlights), but her own between-song banter can be extremely funny, and she always manages to interject fun oddities in to her shows (for instance, I've seen her do Ruttles covers, improv songs about audience members, and so forth). I still laugh when I think of the time she picked up a tambourine and announced "And next I'll be doing my Susan Dey impersonation..."
     One thing I liked about the AV show was the way the co-headliners used each other in their songs. Last time I saw Aimee, it was just her, Patrick, and Buddy and the extra oomph in the arrangements thanks to theextra guitar and live drums was a big plus. There were plenty of loud, rocking moments and the fun the performers were clearly having on stage was both evident and infectious.
     Now, having said all that, I will comment that my boyfriend, who I have turned into an Aimee Mann fan, went home and listened to some of her stuff again and then told me how surprised he was at how faithfully they had reproduced the sound of Bachelor No. 2 in the live setting. Frankly, as a general rule, that's not what I'm looking for in a live setting. (7/00, burka@jeffrey.net)

Let me start by saying that I love Aimee Mann's music. Creatively, both in melody/song structure and in cutting, cunning lyrics she is in a very elite league of songwriters. And she produces beautiful-sounding albums. The lilt of her voice, the clarity and enunciation, and the vulnerable-hopeful-cynical-futile-little girl trapped in a no-win world-thing is second to none. I wish I could say the same for her live performance. I have seen her only twice, but she projects a rather untoward attitude and almost scorn for her audience. This, I am quite sure, is a reflection of her personality and of the many failure-ridden and frustrating experiences she has endured in her life. But frankly, when you are performing in front of people who genuinely appreciate you for your talent and your ability to touch them, it's time to turn off the ascerbicity and show a little tenderness. These are your friends, your fans, your music-appreciaters. In chicago she sold out 3 shows—no easy feat in these times—and still so little obvious appreciation in the way of bedside manner. Tell us about your day, your travels, your songs, your thoughts. Share something revealing or intimate or silly. If you are so fed up with the music industry in which you finally seem to be thriving, tell us about it and include us in it. The robotic 'thank you very much' at the end of each song, spoken in exactly the same mechanical way, is not endearing at all. Aimee is distant and abrupt and stands on the stage looking down or with her eyes shut through most of the performance. It's almost as if she would rather not be there, or that she is killing the pain by pretending she is alone on stage—or not on stage at all. To this observer, it looked like she was going through the motions. Which, considering the emotion and intensity of her albums, betrays a bitterness and closedness that alienates the fans. And another thing: let's pick up the vocals in the mix! I have now seen her in two vastly different arenas (one small theatre of 300, the other a club about 1500) and in both cases it was nearly impossible to make out what she was singing. In going back to listen to the albums, I am always struck by how pure her vocals are and how they ride on top of the layered guitars. It's that intimacy, the touch, that is missing so desperately from the live shows. She is a wonderful songwriter and an accomplished recording artist. If you're out there Aimee, please just relax a bit and let us in to enjoy and share in the desolate world you've created. (10/00, mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

Old Polish blokes hung out in the Polish National Home's bar and watched Brooklyn's cool kids flood in. The tallest crowd I've ever been in—what is it about Aimee that attracts gigantic hormone-pumped-meat eaters? The pack of tiny 5ft girls around me looked like hobbits in a forest.
     Great music—two keyboards (a bit much of that organ sound), bass, drums, and herself on acoustic guitar. The new album, almost finished but not due until early next year, has no electric guitar. However one of the new songs ["Freeway"] she played Really Rocked (other than way too much repetition of the line "you've got a lot of money but you can't afford the freeway") so no electric guitar doesn't mean pleasant plucking of delicate strings.
     I like Aimee's voice but can understand how it irritates others. Sometimes it sounded like there was this gorgeous voice being forced out through closed lips, and I'd look up only to see her mouth open wide.
     For someone uncomfortable with stage banter Aimee was wonderful—eloquent, dry, funny. After removing her coat and later her scarf she said "this is as far as it goes" and many people went "awww" and Aimee was chuffed that women were among the awwwers. "You're flirting with all of Brooklyn", she chided herself as she rearranged her slipping silky top.
     The band were having fun. On their road trip they have 'the worst song ever', 'the worst musician ever' discussions ("with us it's all about hate"). Two of the winners were Jewel and Bob Seger, who the main keyboardist described as a singing hernia, so Aimee slipped "And those Hollywood nights, in those Hollywood hills" into her encore and he got the giggles. (7/07)
     I saw Aimee Mann this evening—she was wonderful, as expected. Blew me away with a rocking performance of "How Am I Different?" and an encore which concluded with a kickass version of "Deathly." (9/08, k_hester_k@yahoo.co.nz)

We saw her show at the Calvin Theater in Northampton on Wednesday. It was indeed a great show. She and the band rocked, and she clearly was having a wonderful time. Aside from the expected bunch of songs from Lost In Space (which has very quickly grown on me, and now I can't take it out of the changer in the car), she did a nice mix of songs from her previous albums. Plus, in one of the encores the band even pulled off a largely improvised version of "Voices Carry", in response to her own initial reaction of revulsion when someone shouted out a request for it. (10/02, meth@smoe.org)

Last night felt like a very special night—this was an awesome show. Very tight and clean band with her, and she seemed honored and humbled to be on the stage "where she had gone to many shows years before" and on which she hadn't been in 17 years (with 'Til Tuesday). She even resurrected a version of "Voices Carry" in the 2nd (of 3) encores. Lots of tunes from Lost in Space, good sampling from Bachelor No. 2 and Whatever, couple from I'm With Stupid.
     All in all I walked out the door feeling I'd just witnessed something very special, and have a much increased appreciation for Aimee and her songs. Sitting in the second row sure didn't hurt either.
     Don't know if the rest of the stops on this tour have/will be this good, but I wouldn't pass up the chance.(10/02, dlw@sympatico.ca)

Recommended first album:

Bachelor No. 2. (eperkins@surfbest.net)

Whatever or Bachelor No. 2. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Recordings:


Whatever

Release info:

1993—Imago (152 W. 57th St, New York, NY 10019)—72787-21017-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Aimee Mann—vocals, electric guitar, bass, dixie cup, acoustic guitar, pump organ, mellotron, lo-fi acoustic guitar, percussion, nylon-string guitar

Guest artists:

Jon Brion—drums, bass, electric guitars, pump organ, mellotron, chamberlin, optigan, glockenspiel, tambourine, vibraphone, vocals, guitars, piano, harmonium, hammond organ, indian harmonium, bass harmonica, acoustic bass, kazoo, keyboards, cottage organ, B-3, celeste, tack piano, Wurlitzer, piccolo, bottles, turtle guitar, toy piano, marimba, pipes, drum fills on "Could've Been Anyone," woodwind arrangements on "Mr. Harris"
Buddy Judge—vocals, acoustic guitar, hi-fi acoustic guitar, bottles, pipes
Todd Nelson—intro guitar to "I Should've Known"
Jim Keltner—drums
Roger McGuinn—12-string electric guitar, vocals, Byrd's quotes on "Could've Been Anyone"
Michael Hausman—drums, percussion, bass drum, tongue drum, cymbals, congas, orchestral percussion on "Jacob Marley's Chain"
David Coleman—electric cello
Milt Sutton—drums
Randy Brion—euphonium, trombone
Mike Breaux—oboe, bassoon
Sid Sharp Strings (Sidney Sharp, Joy Lyle, Harry Shirinian, Harry L. Shultz)—strings on "Mr. Harris" and "I Know There's A Word"
Jimmie Haskell—string arrangements and conducting on "Mr. Harris"

Produced by:

Jon Brion, Tony Berg, Aimee Mann, Michael Hausman

Comments:

Following yet another long silence, hers not self-imposed, former 'Til Tuesday lead singer Aimee Mann produces a confident, mature solo debut that sounds as if she'd been making an album a year ever since Everything's Different Now., each one better than the last. (gmcdonald@furia.com)

I listed Whatever on the top 10 I posted to ecto in '93 and still consider it to be one of the finest albums of the decade; almost 5 years after I bought it (same day I bought Depeche Mode's "I Feel You" single), I still play this album several times a month, if not more. (burka@jeffrey.net)

I was a little skeptical about buying this album since I vastly preferred Bachelor No. 2 to I'm With Stupid, but I was amazed at how great this solo debut is. I've continued to play it repeatedly, and I love it more every time. (eperkins@surfbest.net)

I love Whatever—it's well up on my list of favourite albums. (bridgesm@logica.co.uk)

Aimee Mann can sure craft a great pop song. It's good to see her first solo outing in such fine form. Mann's solo albums are almost Beatlesesque in their sense of melody and song structure. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

For me, the best of the year, but I really worship Aimee. I think she fits in my Pantheon where many people put Sarah. Just a wonderful album, with scads of perfect songs. I get a new favorite every time I listen. (neal)

For some reason I expected Aimee Mann's music to be harder-edged, but I was pleasantly surprised by her mellowness and her humor. (JoAnn Whetsell)

I was never a huge fan of 'Til Tuesday, so Whatever took me by surprise. Lots of great songwriting on this one, like the poignant, melancholic "Fourth of July" and bittersweet "Mr. Harris." (trow@interbridge.com)

Still haunted by a certain lack of focus, 'Til Tuesday's former lead singer nevertheless turns out some great songs here. (drumz@best.com)

I have no clue what happened, but now I can't believe I ever didn't like this album. (meth@some.org)

While I'm not wild about this album, there are some catchy songs on it. (Neile)


I'm With Stupid

Release info:

1995—Geffen Records—DGCD-24951

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Aimee Mann—vocals, bass, guitars, acoustic and electric guitars, drums, percussion, keyboards, hand claps

Guest artists:

Jon Brion—guitars, percussion, drums, keyboards, bass harmonica, electric guitar, acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, cello, distorted nylon guitar, tack piano, harmonium, hand claps, background vocals
Stacy Jones—drums
John Sands—drums
Michael Lockwood—guitars
Brad Hallen—bass
Mike Denneen—keyboards
Bernard Butler—guitars, electric guitars, keyboards
Clayton Scoble—guitars, electric guitar, background vocals
Michael Penn—guitars
Peter Linton—3rd solo on "All Over Now"
Martyn Watson—drum loop stuff on "That's Just What You Are"
Glenn Tilbrook—electric guitar, background vocals
Jon Lupfer—hand claps
Chris Difford—background vocals
Neil Innes—background vocals
Ron Nasty—background vocals
Juliana Hatfield—background vocals on "You Could Make a Killing" and "Amateur"

Produced by:

Jon Brion

Comments:

On first listen, I wrote off this album as too mainstream. Luckily, I eventually went back to it. It still contains "Superball," one of the most unbearable pop songs ever written, but it also contains some of her strongest—especially when seen live—songs, like "Long Shot," "That's Just What You Are" and "Amateur." Juliana Hatfield's backing vocals are a bonus. (eperkins@surfbest.net)

It's very different in style from Whatever: louder, faster, lots of distorted guitars. At least that was my first impression, I've only listened to it a couple of times. (mk59200@cc.tut.fi)

aimee mann's new album is great. nothing like whatever, but crunchy-yummy guitar pop of high quality. i had a copy of the album since sometime last summer, but it didn't kick into my braincells until i started listening to it again a week or so before the official u.s. release date. now, i can't figure out why i didn't like it initially! (woj@some.org)

Although I like a lot of the songs on I'm with Stupid, the album as a whole doesn't work as well for me. (bridgesm@logica.co.uk)

I'm sure people are going to be having multiple orgasms over this one, but it just doesn't deliver the goods like the utterly brilliant Whatever. Someone should have told her that it's a bad omen to start off an album with the line, "You fucked it up." (Meth@smoe.org)

Her first solo album, Whatever, is one of my favorite albums of the '90s so far. The follow-up, I'm With Stupid, is a good album, but I'd rather listen to Whatever or 'Til Tuesday's Everything's Different Now.. This is, in my mind, the worst of the lot, and one I play rather infrequently. I probably like it more now than when I bought it, what, five years ago, but I'm still not crazy about it. It has some great moments ("Amateur", the song from the Melrose Place album, and the fabulous line, "so row, row, row your boat gently down the stream / hope you drown and never come back..."), but then I could just as easily never hear "Superball" ever again. (burka@jeffrey.net)

Personally I really like it, although I still think that Whatever is the better of the two. To all those Aimee fans, I suggest you give it a couple of listens to before drawing conclusions. After hearing her do most of the album live here in London I loved the album even more. I really love "You Could Make a Killing," ." Juliana Hatfield's backing vocals make quite a nice contrast to Aimee's voice. "Par for the Course" always gets me right in the gut, especially the beginning lines, "You put down the phone and cried for yourself and what you couldn't have..." I enjoy the beat of "That's Just What You Are" and "Superball," although I managed to pick up the "That's Just What You Are" single back in Australia last year and it had "Superball," and an alternate version of "Stupid Thing" (my all-time favourite Aimee song) on it too. "Ray" is another good ballad, I always love the slow ones! But I love the first line of the whole album, "You fucked it up ...." She really knows how to get everyone's attention. (noudenhoven@lbs.lon.ac.uk)

A far cry from Whatever. She seems so angry and cynical all of a sudden. But it hasn't done the music any harm. On the contrary. I like Whatever a lot (especially "Mr. Harris" and "Jacob Marley's Chain"), but I'm even more fond of I'm With Stupid. (lombaeg@donald.interpac.be)

another one i will buy. aimee's voice reminds me of someone i used to know, for some reason. anyway, i'm not really sure what to *say* in describing this album except that i like it a whole lot. (damon)

I just love this album. Although many say that it isn't as good as Whatever, I think that it is. (garrick@area51.upsu.plym.ac.uk)

The new Aimee Mann is definitely crunchy and I like it. I just got this yesterday so I'm still absorbing it but I like what I hear so far. I just wish she had included the lyrics! Argh! (V115P8D6@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu)

I bought Aimee Mann's I'm With Stupid and have been enjoying it quite a lot. (sagetodd@postoffice.ptd.net)

I'm With Stupid didn't strike me as much as Bachelor No. 2 (or, the last remains of the dodo), but I think it just needs some growing time. I'm used to Aimee with a mellower sound. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Magnolia soundtrack (also includes 4 songs not recorded by Aimee Mann)

Release info:

1999—Reprise Records—9-47583-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Aimee Mann—vocals, bass, acoustic guitars

Guest artists:

Jon Brion—all instruments on "One," bass, keyboards, everything else on "Momentum," guitars, electric guitars, organ, glockenspiel, celeste, percussion, casio orchestra, drums, chamberlin, background vocals
Jon Lupfer—baritone sax
Buddy Judge—acoustic guitar, background vocals
Dan MacCarroll—drums, percussion
Keith Brion—piccolo
Randy Brion—euphonium
Mike Breaux—oboe
Scott Mitchell—drums
Michael Lockwood—12-string acoustic and electric guitars, melodica, electric guitar, cheesy keyboard on "You Do," solo on "Deathly," background vocals
Patrick Warren—chamberlin, celeste, piano, keyboards, accordion, solo on "Deathly"
Benmont Tench—piano, chamberlin
Ric Menck—drums
Michael Hausman—drum programming
Michael Penn—guitar, electric guitar, background vocals
Brendan O'Brien—bass and slide guitar
John Sands—drums and percussion
Neil Innes—background vocals
Chris Difford—background vocals
Juliana Hatfield—background vocals on "Deathly"

Produced by:

Jon Brion, Brendan O'Brien, Aimee Mann, Michael Penn
Paul Thomas Anderson and JoAnne Sellar, album executive producers
Danny Bramson, executive producer for Reprise Records

Comments:

Yummy. Aimee Mann is a goddess. :) Can't wait to see the movie! (meth@smoe.org)

Some of these songs are repeated on the full-length version of Bachelor No. 2, but it's well worth the price of the CD for the ones that are not—particularly "Save Me," one of my favorite Aimee Mann songs. (eperkins@surfbest.net)

I absolutely love it. Haven't seen the movie yet, but I listen to the soundtrack almost daily, and usually 2 or more times in a row when I put it on. (JoAnn Whetsell)

There are 5 songs are on Magnolia that are not on Bachelor No. 2, one of which is a cover of the old Three Dog Night song "One." Anyway. You'll like Magnolia. I think you'll particularly get a kick out of "Momentum." (burka@jeffrey.net)


Bachelor No. 2 (or, the last remains of the dodo)

Release info:

2000—Superego Records—6-98519-00022-4

Availability:

Wide

A 7-track preview version was released prior to the full-length version.

Ecto priority:

Highly, highly recommended

Group members:

Aimee Mann—vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, guitars, Nashville, tambourine, bad hi-hat on "Susan"

Guest artists:

John Sands—drums
Michael Penn—guitar, intro to "Red Vines", slide guitar, guitar feedback, background vocals
Michael Lockwood—electric guitar, guitar, 12-string guitar, cheesy keyboard, background vocals
Patrick Warren—keyboards, chamberlin, piano, celeste, accordion
Buddy Judge—drum programming, drum loops, wurlitzer, background vocals
Michael Hausman—drum programming, tambourine, percussion
Jon Brion—electric guitars, keyboards, drums, background vocals
Ric Menck—drums
Benmont Tench—piano and chamberlin
Dan MacCarroll—drums, drums and fills on "Red Vines"
Clayton Scoble—electric guitars
Jen Trynin—electric guitar
Mark Flannagan—trumpet on "Calling It Quits"
Michael Panes—violin on "Just Like Anyone"
Brendan O'Brien—bass and slide guitar
Hank Linderman—drum programming
Grant Lee Phillips—background vocals
Juliana Hatfield—background vocals on "Deathly"

Produced by:

Aimee Mann, Jon Brion, Brendan O'Brien, Buddy Judge, Mike Denneen, Michael Hausman-executive producer

Comments:

I think this is the best example so far of Aimee Mann's singing and songwriting abilities. I actually got Whatever after this one, and though I agree that she was good right from the start, I still prefer this one. When I first got the preview EP, it stayed in my CD player for weeks. (eperkins@surfbest.net)

This limited edition preview of her upcoming album contains a lot of brilliant new tunes that highlight some of the best of Aimee's songwriting. I liked I'm With Stupid, but this feels more like Whatever, which I preferred. (neal)

I've been listening an awful lot to Bachelor No. 2 (or, the last remains of the dodo), the 7-track preview ep she's selling at shows. It's a lot more like Whatever, and I'm pretty much ecstatic over it. still incredibly tasty after so many plays in the last few weeks! I don't think I see Bachelor No. 2 as upbeat but I do think it could be her best release to date (though it's awfully hard to compare it against Whatever—seven+ years down the line, that album still boggles me and I wonder if Bachelor No. 2 will have the same staying power). (burka@jeffrey.net)<

I really like this album. It has this familiarity to it in a way, that I was singing along to the choruses even on the first listen. It's strange but good to hear "Nothing Is Good Enough" (is that the right title?) with lyrics. I'm also really glad to get "Deathly" on another cd since that is my favorite song from the Magnolia soundtrack. (JoAnn Whetsell)

This one can't get too high of a mark as album of the year for me, since many of the tracks already came out on the Magnolia soundtrack. But Mann's disattached lyrics and vocals about lonely, complex characters still is riveting. Best is "Deathly", in which the narrator is begging her suitor not to give her what she needs the most: "Now that I've met you / would you object to / never seeing each other again?" (miazgama@pilot.msu.edu)

I have to say this is a BRILLIANT piece of work and I definitely recommend everyone running and out and getting a copy. Aimee's songwriting skills just keep improving and I can't say enough good things about this album!!!!! (RocketsTail@aol.com)

I think Bachelor No. 2 is Aimee's most even and upbeat solo release yet. (mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

Bachelor No. 2 is definitely an improvement over I'm With Stupid or Whatever. (iflin@speakeasy.net)


Lost in Space

Release info:

2002—SuperEgo Records—SE-007

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Aimee Mann—acoustic guitar, piano, tambourine, JX3-P, bass, paddles, percussion & drum fills, 6- & 12-string acoustic guitars, electric & bass guitars, egg shaker, SK-1, drums, claps, vocals

Guest artists:

Michael Lockwood—JX3-P, leslie guitar, slide guitar, electric guitars, chamberlins, auto harp, soprano zither, dobro, SK-1, baritone guitar, bender guitar, VL-1 &5, 12-string guitar, arp solina, MT-520, Prophet 600, harmonium, Sonora shakers, SK-5, MT-65, RS-09, MT-52, CZ-1000, static, theremin, Hohner bass 3, space loop, fun machine, Nashville guitar, paddles, celeste, loops, 12 string acoustic guitar, ebow, minimoog, MT-45, acoustic guitar, omnichord, marxophone, SA-9, CS-5
John Sands—drums, Sonora shakers
Michael Penn—drum loop
Jebin Bruni—chamberlin strings, piano, Prophet 5
Mike Denneen—wurlitzer, electric piano, harpsichord
Patrick Warren—chamberlin strings & horns, chamberlin, marxophone
Jason Falkner—bass
Ryan Freeland—AM radio loop on "Real Bad News," claps
Jay Bellerose—drums
Dave Palmer—organ
Seth, Jeff—claps on "Invisible Ink"
Jonathan Quarmby—string & horn arrangement on "Invisible Ink"
Suzie Katayama—conducting on "Invisible Ink"
Joel Derouin, Peter Kent, Berj Garabedian, Mario De Leon, John Wittenberg, Natalie Leggett, Armen Garabedian, Susan Chatman, Darius Campo, Michelle Richards—violin on "Invisible Ink"
Denyse Buffum, Carole Mukogawa—violas on "Invisible Ink"
Larry Corbett, Dan Smith, Steve Richards—cellos on "Invisible Ink"
David Stone—bass on "Invisible Ink"
Joe Meyer—French horn on "It's Not"
Buddy Judge, Darian Sahanaja, Rusty Squeezebox, Mike Randle—backing vocals

Produced by:

Michael Lockwood (Ryan Freeland, Mike Denneen co-producers)

Comments:

I just got it last week and have only had a chance to listen to it once. It sounds good, much along the lines of Bachelor No. 2. Perhaps not quite as immediately lovable, but then again, this is a first impression. If you like Aimee's other work, you'll like this too. I like the cartoon artwork, but don't always get the connection between the drawing and the song. (JoAnn Whetsell)

It's quite enjoyable, but nothing super catchy or stuck in my head, unlike her previous album, but quite enjoyable. Oh I just said that. Damn.
     I actually like the bonus songs a lot. I actually think they are in someways better songs than a lot of what is on Lost in Space, but I understand why they weren't on the CD. They don't really blend as well with the other songs. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

lost in space feels a little like Aimee-redux, but ms. Mann can redux all night long in that chocolate sundae voice, 'sfar as i'm concerned. ah yeah (listening to it now), double-dip me. (bossert@suddensound.com)

Artists can definitely err on the side of not changing enough. That's kind of how I feel about the new Aimee Mann. Every song is very well-crafted, but it just sounds like a bland version of Bachelor No. 2. Nothing stands out for me because I feel like I've heard all of the songs before. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

This album kind of snuck up on me. I didn't really think much of it the first couple times I heard it, but then it suddenly clicked into place and now I love it. Seeing her perform much of it live from front row center didn't hurt, either. On the surface, there's not much to differentiate it from Bachelor No. 2, but for some reason it just works better for me. "Pavlov's Bell" is definitely one of the best songs she's ever done. (meth@smoe.org)

Like most folks, it seems, Aimee Mann's latest didn't grab me right away the way Whatever or Bachelor No. 2 did (I'm With Stupid remains my least favorite of her solo albums, though I listen to it from time to time and enjoy it). But, like most folks, repeated plays illuminated depths that made me fall in love with the disc. (burka@jeffrey.net)

A great artist doing a sub-standard, predictable and/or formulaic album. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)

I've been a huge fan since the second 'Til Tuesday album and have been following her career ever since. I think this album is better than Bachelor No. 2 even though, in some ways, it sounds like a continuation of it. There is a feeling of melancholy on this album in both the music and lyrics, even the booklet graphics are lonely and sad. (cdavis@tir.com)


The Forgotten Arm

Release info:

2005—SuperEgo Records—SE 0018

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Aimee Mann—vocals, electric and acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

Paul Bryan—bass, background vocals
Jebin Bruni—keyboards
Jay Bellerose—drums, percussion (2, 4-6)
Victor Indrizzo—drums, percussion (1, 3, 7-12), cowbell
Jeff Trott—electric guitar (all except 4), mandolin (2, 7), baritone guitar (8)
Chris Bruce—electric guitar (4)
Julian Coryell—electric guitar (4), slide guitar, background vocals, keyboard (10), guitar (2), vocals (6, 11)
Mark Visher (West End Horns)—tenor saxophone
Jason Thor (West End Horns)—trombone
Willie Murillo (West End Horns)—trumpet, brass arrangement

Produced by:

Joe Henry

Comments:

The new Aimee Mann (The Forgotten Arm) is another must-have. I only got it yesterday, but have listened to it 3 times already and wouldn't mind popping it in again now for another go. I love the packaging too. I had read it was a concept album, telling the story of a boxer and his girlfriend through the songs. But I hadn't realized how thoroughly she had employed the concept. The album is presented as a pulp novel (illustrated too!), and each song is a chapter. I haven't really listened to the album that way, as telling a story; I've just been listening to it at work. I find it immediately likable with all very good tracks, though perhaps no immediate standouts, no obvious singles. Perhaps that's related to telling the story, making the songs of equal weight. It's in no way a complaint. It's indeed very nice to listen to an album and be attracted to the whole thing, not listening more to certain songs and less to others. I'm sure I'll have deeper thoughts later. Bottom line: It's good. Go buy it. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Aimee never lets you down. Super. (tpierceint@yahoo.com)

not bad return to form from her. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)


One More Drifter in the Snow

Release info:

2006—SuperEgo Records—SE025

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Aimee Mann—lead vocals, acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

Paul Bryan—bass, background vocals
Jay Bellerose—drums, percussion
Patrick Warren—piano, chamberlain, celeste, pump organ, keys
Duke Levine—electric guitar, mandola, banjo
Chris Bruce—acoustic guitar (6, 7)
Grant Lee Phillips—special guest (5)

Produced by:

Paul Bryan

Comments:

My favorite holiday album of this year. No bombast, no schmaltz. No trumpets, no children, no orchestras. This is cool, classic, sophisticated holiday music, in the tradition of crooners like Frank Sinatra. Her original "Calling On Mary" should become a standard in the holiday repertoire. (JoAnn Whetsell)

@#%&*! Smilers

Release info:

2008—SuperEgo Records

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Aimee Mann—acoustic guitar, bowed acoustic

Guest artists:

Paul Bryan—bass, background vocals, horn arrangements
Jay Bellerose—drums
Jamie Edwards—keyboards
Buddy Judge—additional background vocal (3, 7)
Kimon Kirk—additional background vocal (6)
Jebin Bruni—moog riff (5)
Chris Bruce—guitar solo (arranged for horns)(5)
Sean Hayes—duet vocal (13)
Patrick Warren—string arrangements
Willie Murillo (The West End Horns)—trumpet
Mark Visher (The West End Horns)—tenor and baritone saxophone
Jason Thor (The West End Horns)—trombone and bass trombone
Eric Gorfain, Daphne Chen, Amy Wickman, Alyssa Park, Terry Glenny, Marisa Kuney, Melisa Reiner—violin
Leah Katz, Caroline Buckman, David Sage—viola
Richard Dodd, Alan Matthews, John Krovaza—cello
Dave Eggers—whistling

Produced by:

Paul Bryan

Comments:

I've listened to the whole thing and it's amazing! I'm really loving it. It took me a while to get into The Forgotten Arm, but this one grabbed me right away. (jonwesleyhuff@gmail.com)

Smilers is probably the first disappointing album I've gotten in a while. I think I expected something more upbeat and fun, based on the reviews and the 2 tracks I heard in advance—"Freeway" which opens the album and "Ballantines" which closes it. I do like those tracks (though I think "Freeway" is merely good, not amazing), but most of what's in between is fairly boring, with occasional gems like "Columbus Ave." I'm not quite sure why people seem to like this so much better than The Forgotten Arm, which I like rather well as a set of songs, putting aside the concept album bit. (JoAnn Whetsell)

This album is Aimee Mann's masterpiece. Who knew?! I've always loved her music, but had come to a point where I wasn't really anticipating new releases from her. I casually picked this one up and thought "Oh, how nice, new Aimee Mann.." But after a few spins, began realizing that this batch of songs were some of the smartest and catchiest she's ever written. The songs feel warm, comforting. I love the keyboards. And her voice, while sometimes too nasally and monotone, sounds more full of life on this album. None of these songs feel repetitive or too long—they're all "just-right". This is one of the best albums of 2008. (lasherboy@gmail.com)


Charmer

Release info:

2012—SuperEgo Records—SE 030

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Aimee Mann—acoustic guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

Paul Bryan—bass, background vocals, mellotron
Jamie Edwards—piano, keyboards, electric guitar, solo on "Soon Enough" and "Gamma Ray," tubular bells
Jebin Bruni—piano, keyboards
Chris Bruce—electric guitar, solo on "Slip and Roll" and "Barfly"
J.J. Johnson—drums
Jay Bellerose—percussion, drums on "Living a Lie"
Michael Penn—background vocal on "Labrador"
James Mercer—duet vocal on "Living a Lie"

Produced by:

Paul Bryan

Comments:

Aimee Mann consistently makes such solid albums that when she makes an album as good as Charmer it doesn't necessarily seem all that special. That could also be because as good as Charmer is, it doesn't really break any new ground. It reminds me a lot of The Forgotten Arm, only with more electric guitar. Fine with me as I love that album. And I like this one a lot too, as will most fans. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Maybe not as great as 2008's @#%&*! Smilers, but Charmer still showcases Aimee's wonderful lyrics and delivery. This album is full of upbeat songs that deal with sad, dark subject matter. Tracks "Gumby", "Soon Enough" (featuring an amazing guitar solo during the last 60 seconds), and "Barfly" are just some highlights. A strong release. (lasherboy@gmail.com)

Lots of boring, repetitive songs on here, unfortunately. (raschee@gmail.com)


Further info:

Aimee Mann has contributed songs to many compilations and collaborated with many artists. Tracks unavailable on her own albums include:

  • "Time Stands Still" with Rush on their album Chronicles (1990)
  • "Baby Blue" on Come and Get It: A Tribute to Badfinger (1996)
  • "Nobody Does It Better" with David Arnold on his album Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project (1997)
  • "Reason to Believe" with Michael Penn on Badlands: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska (2000)
  • "Two of Us" with Michael Penn on the I Am Sam soundtrack (2002)
  • "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" on the I Am Sam soundtrack (Japanese Edition) (2002)
  • "Night Owl" with Dan Zanes on his album Night Time! (2002)
  • "What the World Needs Now" on Sweetheart Love Songs: Our Favorite Artists Cover Their Favorite Love Songs (2004)
  • "Get Down to It" with Sierra Swan on her album Ladyland (2005)
  • "Hearts" with Tim and Eric on their album Awesome Record, Great Songs (2008)
  • a live version of "31 Today" on Live From the Artist's Den: Season I, Part II (2009)
  • "No Matter What" with Marc Cohn on his album Listening Booth: 1970 (2010)
  • "Jealous Guy" on The 30th Annual John Lennon Tribute: Live From the Beacon Theatre NYC (2011)
  • "No More Amsterdam" with Steve Vai on his album The Story of Light (2012)
  • "Bigger Than Love" with Benjamin Gibbard on his album Former Lives (2012)
Aimee Mann has inspired several songs including:

  • "On My Way to See Aimee Mann" on Forrest Whitlow's album 7 (2008)
  • "Spinning (Mr. Harris Responds to Aimee Mann)" on Buckdancer's Choice's album Clouds Breaking Over Montmartre (2010)
  • "Aimee Mann, I Like Your Music" on The Passionate & Objective Jokerfan's album Unofficial Tributes to Officially Awesome Music People (2010)
  • "Aimee Mann Is a Very Good Singer" on The Passionate & Objective Jokerfan's album Unexpected Songs of Joy, and Celebration of Music Stars (2011)
  • "Aimee Mann" on The NRIs' EP The Charm (2012)


Thanks to Emily Perkins and JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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