A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tunesday 10: Aimee Mann, @#%&! Smilers

Aimee Mann, @#%&! Smilers

Aimee Mann is one of my very favorite artists, for a variety of reasons. She's the most indie rocker I know, an artist (and student of boxing) who has gone fifteen rounds against the mediocrity and pablum that is shoved upon us by the American recording industry. As an independent artist, she took the bold, iconoclastic step in 1999 by starting her own record label, SuperEgo Records, and releasing her third solo album, Bachelor No. 2 (Or the Return of the Dodo), all by herself, and in doing so she showed that trusting her own instincts rather than kowtowing to industry talking heads produced an amazing piece of art, and I recommend this album to you as well. Mann's work is TRUE. I think of her as the Joni Mitchell of her generation, which is, for me high praise indeed.

As a songwriter, if she had stopped after "Voices Carry" back in 1985 when she was with 'Til Tuesday, I would have been satisfied, but over her career she has created a body of work that demonstrates an amazing ability to create characters and situations that are fully realized in just a few words, much the way that Lucinda Williams does-- with the prime difference being that Aimee Mann can sing (sorry Lucinda, but, really!). Not in the Carrie Underwood, American Idol kind of way, but as a mature woman who has lived through life taking responsibility for her fealty to her artistic vision. An example of her craft is the brilliant "Little Tornado" from her current album, which makes me think of people that I have known who have whirled their destruction through the lives of those around them without any concern for the consequences. Then there is this gem, "31 Today," capturing the panic of regret as it begins to settle over us even before we've lived long enough to really gain perspective on the mistakes that we have made:

Thirty-one today
What a thing to say
Drinking Guinness in the afternoon
Taking shelter in the black cocoon

I thought my life would be different somehow
I thought my life would be better by now
I thought my life would be different somehow
I thought my life would be better by now
But it's not, and I don't know where to turn

Called some guy I knew
Had a drink or two
And we fumbled as the day grew dark
I pretended that I felt a spark

I thought my life would be different somehow
I thought my life would be better by now
I thought my life would be different somehow
I thought my life would be better by now
But it's not, and I don't know where to turn
No, it's not, and I don't know where to turn
No, it's not, and I don't know where to turn

Easter comes and goes
Maybe Jesus knows
So you roll on with the best you can
Getting loaded, watching CNN

I thought my life would be different somehow
I thought my life would be better by now
I thought my life would be different somehow
I thought my life would be better by now
But it's not, and I don't know where to turn
No, it's not, and I don't know where to turn
No, it's not, and I don't know where to turn
No, it's not, and I don't know



Here she is doing a live video of the above song. Enjoy!



And now, if all of this hasn't convinced you, consider this: she played one of the German Nihilists in the Big Lebowski, one of my favorite Coen Brothers films! She was the one whose little toe was used to try to complete the con-- if you saw the film, you know what I'm talking about!

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5 Comments:

At 4/1/09, 12:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not in the Carrie Underwood, American Idol kind of way


what exactly does that mean?

 
At 4/2/09, 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I almost read your review until the part about Lucinda Williams cannot sing. Then I stopped reading because it became apparent that you know nothing about music.

 
At 4/2/09, 3:31 PM, Blogger ~Tim said...

Aimee and Lucinda are both favorites of mine. Dar Williams is another.

 
At 4/2/09, 5:34 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Dear Anonymous,
The first one means, "Singing all around the melody in an incredibly false, manufactured, artificial manner."

The second one means that, no, Lucinda Williams, although a BRILLIANT songwriter, CANNOT sing a LICK. Doesn't mean she's not brilliant.

And as long as you only read stuff with which you agree, you're not going to be reading (or learning) much. Take care!

And ~Tim, you know I love them all, but especially Dar and Aimee, both of whom I would love to see in concert.

 
At 1/29/12, 5:07 PM, Anonymous Билеты Формула 1 Валенсия said...

To my mind every person ought to browse on it.

 

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