Date: Thursday, February 16, 1989


Source: By Bruce Britt, New York Times News Service.

Section: TEMPO Dateline: LOS ANGELES



``Everything`s Different Now`` is the name of `Til Tuesday`s critically acclaimed Epic Records album, but the title could just as easily describe the band`s mercurial career.

The band, which emerged in 1985 as a four-piece ensemble, has since been reduced to the duo of singer-songwriter Aimee Mann and drummer Michael Hausman. The sprightly sound featured on the band`s debut disc has been replaced by jangly folk-pop.

Those new edges can be attributed to singer Mann, whose songs often examine the darker side of romance. She attributes the new album`s bleak sentiments to recent events in her life.

``If you`re going through some rough times, it`s inevitable that it come through in your music,`` Mann said. ``I think it`s in every songwriter`s nature to take a situation and analyze it.``

``Everything`s Different Now`` is `Til Tuesday`s first effort since Mann broke off her well-publicized relationship with songwriter Jules Shear. Mann says many interviews since have focused on the relationship, and she now says she`s uncomfortable about much of what she reads.

``The things that have crushed me most are reports that things between Jules and me are touchy. We`re still good friends, and I would hate for him to read an interview that he misinterpreted as negative toward him.``

``Everything`s Different Now`` proved to be `Til Tuesday`s easiest recording experience. Mann and Hausman produced detailed demo tapes before entering the studio.

``When we went into the studio, we were playing and singing to an entire song, instead of pieces of music,`` Mann explained. ``The modern way, where you start with drums then gradually overdub everything on top, doesn`t work for us. You can`t get a real sense of the song.``

`Til Tuesday emerged from Boston with a splash in 1985 with ``Voices Carry,`` a literate collection of contemporary pop tunes that turned the band into MTV darlings. Although it quickly won the band a following a best-new- artist Grammy nomination, in retrospect Mann sees the album as a weak effort.

``(`Voices Carry`) was very (synthesizer) heavy, and that was a function of a lot of different things going on within the band,`` the singer said. ``If I`d had my druthers, a lot of that album would have had a small woodwind section.``

The folkier side of Mann`s nature surfaced on 1986`s ``Welcome Home,`` but the record failed to restoke the excitement of the debut. The tribulations resulting from the album`s lukewarm sales cost the band two members-guitarist Robert Holmes and keyboardist Joey Pesce.

``Everybody was really pleased with the second album, but when it was not successful, they were looking for someone to blame,`` Mann said. ``I became the scapegoat.``

Mann insists `Til Tuesday operates more efficiently as a duo.

``(Hausman) has a real lawyer`s mind, and that`s valuable in this business,`` Mann said. ``He`s the kind of guy who can put together a budget for touring. He`ll say, `The truck is costing too much,` or, `This sound company has a really good reputation.` Every band needs somebody who`s good with business-type things like that.

``But what`s most important are the songs, and Michael and I have similar tastes.

``We listen to different kinds of music, but we want to keep the same kind of direction.``