Posts Tagged ‘Aimee Mann’

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Susanna Hoffs is honouring some of the great musicians in her life with covers of songs by Prince, Syd Barrett, The Velvet Underground, Nick Drake, and more on “Bright Lights” (Baroque Folk Records), out November 12th. 

“These were songs I admired and adored and had listened to on repeat for pure pleasure, but strangely, had never sung,” says Hoffs. “Stepping up to the mic to sing them for the first time with our incredible band was truly exhilarating if a little terrifying

Produced by Paul Bryan, “Bright Lights” is a collection of songs that shaped a young Hoffs and her friend, the late David Roback of Mazzy Star, when they were teens. Prince’s Purple Rain track “Take Me With U” is the sole track released after the earlier era of their musical discovery.

Bright Lights” also moves through songs by the Monkees, Richard Thompson, The Merry-Go Round, Chris Bell, and Paul Revere & The Raiders, with Aimee Mann (‘Til Tuesday) joining Hoffs on Badfinger’s 1971 track “Name of the Game.”

“The artists on Bright Lights approached song writing from a deeply emotional place and with a profound sensitivity to the world around them,” says Hoffs. “Sadly, many of them died too young. I didn’t actually see the big picture of that until I looked at the whole track list. It was subconscious. Yet I’ve always been drawn to songs that were intensely emotional.”

Hoffs adds, “The best analogy for singing a cover is, ‘does the dress fit?’ Can I wear it well? Will I be able to do it justice and bring something new to it?

Bright Lights Track List:

Time Will Show the Wiser (The Merry-Go Round)
One These Things First (Nick Drake)
You and Your Sister (Chris Bell)
Name of the Game, featuring Aimee Mann (Badfinger)
I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Richard and Linda Thompson)
You Just May Be the Other (The Monkees)
Him or Me – What’s It Gonna Be? (Paul Revere & The Raiders)
Femme Fatale (The Velvet Underground)
Take Me With U (Prince)
No Good Trying (Syd Barrett)

“Bright Lights”, the new Susanna Hoffs album is out November 12th.

aimee mann Top 25 Albums of 2017 (So Far)

Five years following 2012’s Charmer, and some choice hang time with New Jersey bard Ted Leo as The Both, Singer Songwriter Aimee Mann decided it was about time to create her “saddest, slowest, and most acoustic” album to date. Needless to say, she succeeded on all three counts with her ninth studio album, Mental Illness, a lush tapestry of sounds that are about as melancholy as they are embalming. Mann writes musical snapshots, documenting the smallest details to convey rich inner worlds. By eschewing the lush instrumentation of some of her early solo work, Mann and producer Paul Bryan give the record an exceptionally spacious feel; most songs find her singing over a piano or single acoustic guitar, augmented occasionally by strings or subtle harmonies. The spare arrangements highlight Mann’s melodies—contemplative, longing, vulnerable—as well as her words—solitary, reflective, honest.

Melancholy feels good sometimes, and with a voice as affecting and nuanced as Mann’s, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the drama. Songs like “You Never Loved Me”, “Simple Fix”, and “Patient Zero” reel on by with poppy melodies that stick in your head long after you’ve tossed the vinyl back in its sleeve. Aided by strings, piano, soft percussion, and a choir comprised of Leo, Jonathan Coulton, and longtime producer Paul Bryan, Mental Illness capitalizes on our curious attraction to sadness,  for instance, those lonely nights we often yearn for amid happier times — and that’s an illness we’ll never shake.

‘Goose Snow Cone’ was enough to convince me. If you’re not familiar with this album then I imagine it will be enough for you too. It’s a pretty much perfect bit of songwriting. The melody is outrageously catchy, the arrangement perfectly matched and the performance utterly commanding.

The best cut off Aimee Mann’s stunning, new record, Mental Illness, shows how much can be done with a straightforward strum, plaintive singing, and a few background strings. On “Simple Fix”, she captures the universal feeling of being in a relationship that falls into the same rut time and time again. Unfortunately, the simplest solutions are often the hardest to follow through.

No song on Aimee Mann’s excellent Mental Illness addressed that album title as bluntly or as unsentimentally as “Lies of Summer,” a story-song about a bipolar kid who loses himself in an institution while his family untangles his lies and crimes. Mann’s tone alternates between wry dismissal and clinical fascination, as though the face behind the Plexiglas was an intriguing specimen to be studied and dissected.

“The title of Aimee Mann’s latest solo effort, her ninth album release, registers like a punch to the gut. In a world full of self-consciously clever and willfully obtuse album titles,“Mental Illness” is the equivalent of washing someone’s mouth out with soap. Every three years or so, she releases an album’s worth of character sketches, laments, self-analysis, vignettes and musings, all branded by a kind of urgent hyper-literacy in which each syllable and every note carries outsize meaning.

It’s not something you mull over or analyze in search of some hidden subtext or meaning. Instead, it smacks of cold reality. In an interview with Rolling Stone in January, Mann called Mental Illness the ‘saddest, slowest’ record of her 35-plus-year career. She’s not kidding. Her latest collection finds her singing love-spurned tales of heartache, anger, and remorse, giving the emotionally loaded title some added weight. But that doesn’t mean that Mann the ex-Til Tuesday singer isn’t putting us on, at least a little bit. ‘I mean, calling it Mental Illness makes me laugh, because it is true,’ she said. ‘It’s so blunt that it’s funny.’ But while she might be having fun with us, she’s nonetheless created a remarkable character sketch. For 44 minutes, Aimee Mann slips into the skin of someone walking an emotional tightrope, and it’s an act she pulls off with grace and conviction. “Mental Illness” lays its hurt and sadness out so effectively that it’s hard to completely accept it as pure fiction. But even if we’re to take Mann’s word for it that these songs were created with some personal distance, it’s still no less powerful of a record” –[Limited color vinyl pressing also available.

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The 30 Days, 30 Songs project is a new thing: A full month of musicians posting anti-Trump music in the lead-up to the election. Death Cab For Cutie kicked it off with their new song “Million Dollar Loan” And today, the veteran badass singer-songwriter Aimee Mann has contributed the new song “Can’t You Tell,” a song that she actually wrote from the perspective of Trump. Singing in character as Trump, Mann paints a portrait of a disturbed man who’s in over his head: “Isn’t anybody going to stop me? / I don’t want this job, I don’t want this job / My god, can’t you tell I’m unwell?”

Aimee Mann has said:

I wanted to write about Trump in the first person because I think it’s more interesting to speculate on what people’s inner life might be. I had heard a theory that Trump’s interest in running for President was really kicked off at the 2011 White House Correspondent’s dinner when President Obama basically roasted him, so that’s where I started. And my own feeling was that it wasn’t really the job itself he wanted, but the thrill of running and winning, and that maybe it had all gotten out of hand and was a runaway train that he couldn’t stop.

To combat apathy, entertain the citizenry, and provide a soundtrack to resistance, over the next four years, the producers of 30 Days, 30 Songs will assemble a playlist of 1,000 songs. One song every day to get us through what promises to be a tumultuous and frequently dispiriting and certainly bizarre presidency. The playlist will feature original tracks, unreleased live versions, remixes, covers, and previously released but relevant songs that will inspire and amuse and channel the outrage of a nation.

Despite the results of the election, we still believe it’s possible to build a more inclusive, equal, and just America. The world will not end on January 20th. It will continue to move forward, and it is up to us to chart its course. In the coming weeks, we plan to raise money for this endeavor through a crowdfunding campaign.

With apologies to the Nobel Prize-winning scientists who developed super-resolved fluorescence microscopy, The Both is this year’s most successful chemistry experiment. The pairing of Aimee Mann and Ted Leo did not result in a violent reaction—if that’s your thing, Instead, the two musicians complement each other in subtle and restrained ways, with Mann’s placid, noble strum blanketing Leo’s rougher electric-guitar edges. The Both suggests that almost any song in the universe could be improved upon by Aimee Mann’s vocal harmonies; she glides effortlessly where Leo has to lift a little harder to carry his end of the tune. The two sometimes sound like an un-decaffeinated New Pornographers—they are blatantly enamored with Thin Lizzy, and one song on the album (“You Can’t Help Me Now”) is so sad that you worry about the severity of the situation for all parties involved. Finding a mid-career musical foil—one who not only masks flaws, but plays to strengths— is rare, and to make it all sound so natural on the first attempt is rarer still