Sunday, December 9, 2012

Aimee Mann Charms Us Again

Aimee Mann
The Charmer
SuperEgo Records
Five Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

It's hard to believe but it has been over two decades since Aimee Mann split from the Iconic 1980's Group Til Tuesday and went on her own.

Eight albums and twenty two years later, Mann continues to solidify her position as one of the top singer/songwriters in the business.

Her latest,  The Charmer,  by design has a very, as even Mann describes it,  Pure Pop sound harkening back to the Pop music sound of the 70's and early 80's.

She also gives a nod here to her work with Til Tuesday.  This is achieved by adding synthesizer and percussion on a few songs.

Her friend, producer and bassist Paul Ryan no doubt has a lot to do with this sound too.

Also carrying that idea, the video shot for one of my favorite songs on this album, "Like A Labrador" is a frame by frame re-enactment of Til Tuesday's video for "Voices Carry" starring John Hamm and other Los Angeles area comedians.  The video is directed by Tom Scharpling.

Even the song lengths bow to the Pop rule of clocking in under four minutes.

Another favorite is a duet that Mann sings with The Shin's James Mercer "Living The Lie".  The two voices meld very well together.

But that song also sets the tone for the entire 11 songs which borders on being a concept album.

Mann and Mercer sing, “I’m living a lie and baby you are, too.”

This and other songs on the album are actually an homage to phony people.

A lot of us have the tendency to act this way. We might wear different faces around different people whether we like it or not. Sometimes we do it to please others. Sometimes we do it to benefit ourselves. And that seems to be the main theme of The Charmer

Mann is one of the best at this kind of in-depth character-study. So the words she puts to her poppy music have a deeper meaning to create one of the best albums of 2012.

Now if we could just get Mann's husband Michael Penn away from television and movie scores to make another album... All will be right with the world.

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