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Aimee Mann

Aimee Mann: Bachelor No. 2

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Aimee Mann,
"Calling It Quits"

at a glance...

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA (born in Virginia)
First recordings: '80s

Personnel:
Aimee Mann -vocals, all manner of guitars
...many others supporting

Bands in the family :
Til Tuesday, Young Snakes, Juliana Hatfield, Difford & Tillbrook, Neil Innes, Squeeze, Bernard Butler, Michael Penn, XTC

Notes:
Many thought Aimee Mann peaked in the early '80s as the leading member of 'Til Tuesday, but die-hard fans and sage critics know that Aimee has always been around since those early days -- working hard, writing and performing her own special brand of clever, well-crafted, take-no-prisoners, "adult-pop" classics. Still going strong and more independent than ever, it is only now that Mann is finally garnering the accolades and wider recognition she so justly deserves. After Til Tuesday disbanded in '88, Mann went on to write and record two critically acclaimed solo albums. 1993's Jon Brion-produced Whatever (Imago), rife with brutally honest, evocatively therapeutic, and non-Pollyana-esque songs, garnered the solo Mann high praise. '96's I'm With Stupid again won the critics hearts as another melodic gem of pop truisms, prompting Time Magazine to refer to it as one of the "catchiest pop albums of the year, brimming with poised three-minute mini-masterpiece." With praise of such high magnitude, you'd have thought Mann would have been more of a public fixture after the release of I'm With Stupid. But years of major label hijinks, including Imago's demise, and Geffen's virtual disappearance via the Polygram/Universal merger, led to the prolific Mann's creative handcuffing (at least on the distributed/finished product-level). This languish in no-man's label land, combined with Mann's honorable unwillingness to betray her convictions, compromise her integrity or be re-vamped by the spin machine of major label management led to the much-too-long four years between albums. A public resurgence came via director Paul Thomas Anderson, a friend and long-time fan, whose latest film, "Magnolia," contains no less than 8 Mann songs, 3 of which are also included on Bachelor No. 2. Anderson, inspired by tapes he'd heard Mann working on while thinking of his next movie, ended up writing Magnolia's screenplay/basing it's characters on Mann's lyrics. Mann's "Save Me," received Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for best song from a motion picture. Enter Bachelor No. 2, Aimee Mann's third solo and first self-produced album. Mann, finally fed up with major label machinations, bought the album back from Interscope (where she landed after the merger) in the Summer of 99 and created her own label, SuperEgo records, through which she will distribute Bachelor No. 2.

Links:
www.aimeemann.com

Aimee Mann

Aimee Mann
Bachelor No. 2
(or The Last
Remains of the Dodo)

SuperEgo Records, Released 1999/2000
Aimee Mann
Aimee Mann

Do-do: formal: an extinct flightless bird, Raphus cucullatus, once found on the island of Mauritius. Informal: a stupid person.

Aimee Mann's long-awaited and highly-anticipated third solo album, Bachelor No. 2 is neither flightless nor stupid. This album soars high above so much of the musical mediocrity flooding our eardrums and/or insulting our sensibilities these days. Self-produced by Mann (with guidance and support from Brendan O'Brien and long-time collaborator Buddy Judge), this is yet another emotion-evoking masterpiece. Encrusted with thirteen unforgettable folk pop gems (including three priceless Mann-penned tracks from the soundtrack to "Magnolia," director Paul Thomas Anderson's latest cinematic opus), Bachelor No. 2 is a beautifully melodic foray into human nature and all its inherent scenarios - good, bad, ugly. An evocative showcase for Mann's signature genius with a hook, always- infectious arrangements, and hauntingly beautiful alto voice, Bachelor treads lyrically through familiar territory: love, self-loathing, rejection and loneliness. These songs are nod-inducing tomes to the trials and tribulations of interpersonal dynamics -- be it man/woman, Mann/music industry, or man/self. Unabashed Bacharach-ian melodies and 60's-pop arrangements abound throughout ("Satellite" and "It Takes All Kinds" are shining examples), and Mann once again partners with Elvis Costello on the sweetly cynical," (The Fall of the World's Own) Optimist."

A gifted and prolific singer/songwriter, Mann, in some seemingly cruel joke of fate, spent her post-'Til Tuesday (her 80's synth-pop band) years being shuffled from one label to another, finally ending up with an unappreciative Interscope, after the much-publicized Universal/Polygram merger. When Interscope "suggested" Mann re-write the songs that would ultimately comprise the brilliant Bachelor because they didn't hear the ubiquitous "single," Mann decided to bow out, buy her immaculately conceived record back, and make a highly-publicized (and no doubt, highly satisfying) exodus from Interscope's bottom-lined clutches. She formed her own label, SuperEgo Records, created a stellar website, www.aimeemann.com (through which Bachelor is being sold) and essentially set up shop - happy, relieved and free from major label interference.

It is Bachelor's keyboard-driven "Nothing Is Good Enough" which most eloquently and in her classic, "non-word-mincing" way, chronicles Mann's frustration with Interscope's interest in the almighty cash-cow "single" over her own talent and viability as a singer/songwriter. The melodically moody "Calling It Quits," also attests to Mann's ultimate realization that she cannot maintain her personal integrity and please her label at the same time. Finally, the plaintively edgy, "Ghost World", inspired by Daniel Clowes' graphic novel of the same name, perfectly captures teen angst, ennui and 'post-high school' uncertainty.

Bachelor No. 2 is an irresistible apple, perfectly ripe and ready for the plucking. Mann appears not only quite content to, but also more than capable of, doing it HER way. No naive dodo, Mann has sewed a labor of love. A public starved for literate, honest, thought provoking music may now reap her harvest.

If you like Aimee Mann, check out:
Aimee Mann Whatever
Aimee Mann Magnolia Soundtrack
Aimee Mann I'm With Stupid
Julia Darling Figure 8
Liz Phair Exile In Guyville
The Loud Family Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things
Aimee Mann

-- Beth Bachtold

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Aimee Mann



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