Copyright 1993 The Associated Press

The Associated Press

May 24, 1993, Monday, BC cycle

SECTION: Entertainment News

LENGTH: 198 words

HEADLINE: In the Groove: Audio Reviews

      "Whatever" (Imago) - Aimee Mann
As the leader of 'Til Tuesday, Aimee Mann primarily was responsible for one of the best albums of the late 1980s, "Everything's Different Now." Her liquid-velvet voice and soul-baring lyrics soared over a songwriting style that mixed pop sensibilities with unusual instruments (French horn, for one).

But critical raves did not add up to sales, and the band never matched the success of its 1985 hit, "Voices Carry." 'Til Tuesday lost its recording contract and eventually broke up.

On "Whatever," Mann's solo debut, the voice is lovely as ever, the songwriting is still finely honed. With the exception of the whiny "I Know There's a Word," the songs on "Whatever" stand up to Mann's work with 'Til Tuesday.

While "Everything's Different Now" focused - with near-heartbreaking intensity - on the breakup of one relationship, "Whatever" ranges wider in its themes.

On one of the album's best songs, "Fifty Years After the Fair," Mann sings about a future that never quite met its promise: "It hurts to even think of those days, the damage we do by the hopes that we raise, But how beautiful it was - 'tomorrow,' we'll never have a day of sorrow."

There are still plenty of songs about romance gone wrong, but Mann often sounds tougher than in the past: "Listen, sonny boy, you just don't get it, do you?" she sings on "I Could Hurt You Now."

- By Eric Fidler, Associated Press Writer.