In the midst of recording her third album in 1998, Aimee Mann was told by her then-label Geffen Records that they weren’t hearing a single out of the batch of songs she had submitted to that point. Any artist with even an ounce of individuality and artistic curiosity has likely heard this plea at one time in her career, but Mann, who was on the wrong end of record company shortsightedness more often than most, channeled all her angst into “Nothing Is Good Enough,” a song that would be scathing if it weren’t so sad.
In a 1999 article in New York Times Magazine detailing her music industry headaches, Mann spoke about the absurdity of her predicament. “There's never a single unless you're earmarked for greatness in the first place,” she said. “I wish it would be called for what it is. Like, 'These are good songs, but they're just not grabbing me for some reason.' Or, 'Production-wise, this doesn't fit into the format of radio right now.' Or some sort of practical thing. But it never is. 'Well, it's just not a single.' How can I correct that. 'Oh, well then I'll write some magical thing that will put you into a trance.' But having said that, sometimes I think it is magic. Sometimes I think they think it's magic. So they're waiting for magic.”
“Nothing Is Good Enough” targets the record company gatekeepers whose arbitrary tastes and misguided motives can leave a talent like Mann twisting in the wind. The musical tenor of the track is dictated by Benmont Tench, whose piano sounds like it was inherited from a 60’s Burt Bacharach session and whose Chamberlin sounds like it was borrowed from the world’s saddest circus. Mann immediately sets the lyrical... Sign In to Keep Reading