Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Aimee Mann answers why

Reposting Kat's review of Aimee Mann's new album.

Kat's Korner: Aimee Mann answers why

Kat: Why does Aimee Mann still make albums?

Following the three studio albums with the band 'Til Tuesday, she went solo and MENTAL ILLNESS is her ninth solo studio album. 


Her biggest hit, "Voices Carry," made the top ten in 1985.

The bulk of radio stations won't even consider playing her.

But here she is with another album.

From the start, it's been suggested that she needs to be 'produced' (Bob Clearmountain remixed "Voices Carry") -- meaning remixed.

Yet here she is with a basically acoustic album.


Does Aimee think this album will storm the charts and spend weeks at number one?

If so, she might have called it MY MENTAL ILLNESS.

My best guess?

Aimee can't help but follow her muse and will keep releasing albums for as long as the muse communes with her.

Which is lucky for those who seek her out.

MENTAL ILLNESS is the second best solo album of her career (THE FORGOTTEN ARM remains her finest).  And, in time, with more listens, it might even tie as her finest.

Boy, when you're through, you're through
Nobody argues the point like you
You never loved me
You never loved me

And hey, when you're right, you're right
We'll stipulate that I lost the fight
You never loved me
You never loved me

Three thousand miles to sit in a room
With a vanishing groom
Till it undoes me
A helium cell like a hermit crab shell
Was a blank, you could tell
It never was me
'Cause you will never love me

"You Never Loved Me" is one of the standout tracks, for me.

I enjoy "Goose Snow Cone" and "Patient Zero" but neither will break the album out.

They're strong songs.  They're wonderful, in fact.

But they aren't going to invite anyone to the party that wasn't already planning on coming.

"Good For Me" might have.

So it's good that Aimee's performing it live during various public radio appearances.

What a waste of a smoke machine
Took the taste of the dopamine
And left me high and dry

Call the cops, call the cavalry
Spin the tops that'll dazzle me
And give me a new supply

There's a layer below, underneath all the layers that I knew
So I pay when you go but it only convinces me that you are
Good for me
Good for

Just a little bit of what I need
To soothe an appetite that I can't feed
Isn't that good for me?

Aimee's made an amazing album -- one that will show up on many best-of-2017 lists.

But she's made it on her own terms which is the only way she works these days.

If you don't get that, here's what she told Jordan Runtagh (PEOPLE) last month:

People don't buy records anymore anyway, so it's even more freedom to just do whatever you want to do within the realm of being able to afford it. A little bit of that starts to feel like a vanity project. I just tried not to think about it. When does the falling revenue stream start to translate to a vanity project rather than a job? I don't know, it's weird. But it definitely frees you up to do whatever you feel like doing. If nobody's buying it, it doesn't matter. [. . .] As an artist you try not to, but at the end of the day I don't make records for other people, I make records for myself. I make the kind of record that I want to hear and I don't think, "What does an audience want?" and try to deliver that, because that's a fool's errand.

MENTAL ILLNESS is music for music's sake.

And with so much pre-programmed and copied fluff that attempts to cater, it's sorely needed.

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