Copyright 1993 The Times Mirror Company
Los Angeles Times
May 23, 1993, Sunday, Home Edition
SECTION: Calendar; Page 56; Calendar Desk
LENGTH: 205 words
HEADLINE: RECORD RACK: ADULT TRUE CONFESSIONS
BYLINE: By JEAN ROSENBLUTH
* * * 1/2
Mann could not have exposed herself more on this album had she posed naked for its cover. As the leader of Boston's 'Til Tuesday (of "Voices Carry" fame), the honey-voiced singer was behind one of the most unabashedly personal albums of the '80s, "Everything's Different Now," a remarkably honest elegy to her broken relationship with songwriter Jules Shear.
In her solo debut after a five-year hiatus, Mann once again delves into the confessional realm, though she seems a bit -- just a bit -- happier these days. Perhaps that impression can be attributed to some of the music here: fanciful, calliope-like accompaniment to Mann's evocative alto, melodies laid bare for even the most casual listener to grab hold of.
But it is Mann's voice and especially her lyrics that make "Whatever" so extraordinary. Creative and literate, Mann mixes words like a master, catching lifetimes of ache and Angst in such lines as "Today's the Fourth of July / Another June has gone by / And when they light up our town I just think / What a waste of gunpowder and sky." This is truly adult music, as serene as it is provocative, sophisticated yet never pretentious. JEAN ROSENBLUTH
GRAPHIC: Photo, Mann: A voice that carries a lifetime of heartache and Angst. ANTON CORBIJN New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).