Copyright 1993 The Times Mirror Company
Los Angeles Times
December 2, 1993, Thursday, Home Edition
SECTION: Calendar; Part F; Page 3; Column 1; Entertainment Desk
LENGTH: 224 words
HEADLINE: POP MUSIC REVIEWS;
SONGS OF SOUR GRAPES PLAY WELL FOR AIMEE MANN
BYLINE: By STEVE HOCHMAN
Aimee Mann's concert at the Roxy on Monday was a virtual pop operetta about getting dumped. It was an evening of split-and-tell songs, starting with "50 Years After the Fair," from her recent album "Whatever," which serves metaphorically as a caustic caution to past, present and future lovers that this singer-songwriter may forgive, but she never forgets.
Sour grapes have been a staple of great pop songs since well before Cole Porter and will be well after Nirvana, but Mann has a sense of style and craft about it that's hard to find in this age of volcanic rage.
Thematically, she's still expanding on the hurt expressed in "Voices Carry," the 1985 hit by her former band 'Til Tuesday (recast at the Roxy in a giddy, lushly psychedelic encore). But the concert showed how much she's matured, abandoning that song's original overwrought nature for attractively subtler shadings, fleshed out by a terrific band that sported at times four guitarists, including XTC's Dave Gregory.
Her juxtaposition of Beatle-esque melodies against acerbic lyrics recalls her booster and sometimes collaborator Elvis Costello. But her warm singing and bouncy stage persona masked the icy steel of her relationship post-mortems, making their sting ultimately harsher for the irony. These put-downs are hard to put out of your head. STEVE HOCHMAN