AIMEE MANN > @#%&! Smilers

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

For over two decades, singer/songwriter Aimee Mann has examined her state of melancholy with an acute eye and a finely-pointed pen. Her music-an elegant distillation of Beatles and Bacharach-has provided relief from her downbeat observations with soaring melodies and propulsive grooves.

Label: SUPEREGO
[RATING: 3.5]

For over two decades, singer/songwriter Aimee Mann has examined her state of melancholy with an acute eye and a finely-pointed pen. Her music-an elegant distillation of Beatles and Bacharach-has provided relief from her downbeat observations with soaring melodies and propulsive grooves. @#%&! Smilers refines this approach without breaking much new ground. That’s not a bad thing, though-Mann’s mastery of pop music forms is so sure that more of the same is definitely welcome. Vintage synthesizer and electric piano sounds add a cool gloss to breezy (if biting) tracks like “Freeway” and “Great Beyond.” Sly wordplay lightens the rueful mood of “Phoenix,” “Borrowing Time” and “Columbus Avenue.” As ever, Mann as at her best when facing sorrow without flinching, as in the gloomy birthday tune “Thirty One Today” and the stoical showbiz meditation “It’s Over.” Aimee seems at peace with her moodiness; her latest album’s title is intended as a swipe at the chronically cheerful. Overall, @#%&! Smilers is pretty @#%&! excellent.


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