Friday, 25 September 2009

Aimee Mann, Lost in Space (2002)

Melacholic music: often lovely, if a touch samey. This is an album that could have been called Big Bowl of Sad, which title, I appreciate, actually describes a musical genre rather than any specific text. Has Aimee Mann failed to fulfil the promise of Whatever? And, Christ alive, was that album released all the way back in 1993? Man, I'm getting old. Still, at least 2002 is bang up to date.

One thing that leapt out at me: 'Invisible Ink' goes:
There comes a time when you swim or sink
So I jumped in the drink
Cuz I couldn't make myself clear
Maybe I wrote in invisible ink.
But Mann sings that last line, with her gorgeous flattened vowels and her charming American indistinctness about the difference between 't' and 'd' , as 'maybe I rode an invisible ankh', which I consider a far superior line.


Abigail Nussbaum said...

It's rare that I can speak about music with anything resembling authority, but I think Lost in Space is a brilliant album, though it may not have an iconic song like "Stupid Thing" in it. It's been spinning on my iPod since, well, before I had an iPod, and "Guys Like Me" and "The Moth" are still grabbing me by the throat, while I think "Pavlov's Bell" has a wonderfully catchy tune.

I was, however, disappointed by Mann's next album, The Forgotten Arm, which is actually samey, though it does contain what may be my favorite song by her, "Video."

Joe Sherry said...

I’m With Stupid was a solid album, if I remember correctly, but Mann’s contributions to the Magnolia soundtrack (and the movie itself, really) should probably be considered a high water mark for her career.

Adam Roberts said...

Everybody praises her Magnolia songs, and I can sort-of see why. Female singer-songwriters are a deep passion of mine, spun out of my love for Kate Bush, Tori Amos and Liz Phair, and I suppose I'm not convinced that Mann, though excellent, quite has the bite of those three. Still, as Abigail says, Lost in Space is an album I find myself going back to.

Adam Roberts said...

I could add, by way of revealing my blindspots ... I came to Mann via Elvis Costello (of whom I am an embarassingly uber fan), and perhaps I rate her more when she's more Costelloish, which actually (pace Magnolia) may not be her natural songwriting idiom.

Paul McAuley said...

'One More Drifter In The Snow' is pretty good, in the right season; Christmas classics and a couple of originals rounded out with a good version of Joni Mitchell's 'River'. Nothing beats '4th of July' from 'Whatever' as far as I'm concerned, but I'm with Joe Sherry on the Magnolia soundtrack - a brilliantly cohesive suite.

Paul McAuley said...

BTW the cover and other illustrations for 'Lost in Space' were done by Canadian artist Seth; if you're into big bowls of sad I can highly recommend his It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken.

Al R said...

One of my favorites as well - esp. Invisible Ink.

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