LENGTH: 280 words
SECTION: Pop and Jazz in Review
BYLINE: Jon Pareles
AIMEE at the Bottom Line: Songs of longing, with individual detail
British Invasion rock didn't get too personal. The early Beatles and the contemporaries knocked out songs of general teen-age longing and exuberance; individual confessions and reflections came later. Aimee Mann, who performed Monday night at the Bottom Line, writes British Invasion-style tunes with individual details, setting tales of heartbreak and resentment in well-turned tunes.
Ms. Mann, who used to lead the band 'Til Tuesday, sings in a reedy, breathy voice with an expandable vibrato, like a less hard-bitten version of the Pretenders' Chryssie Hynde. She knows how to sound tender while she dismantles a lover's lies; "If you were evrything you swear/ we wouldn't be beyond repair," she informs a partner in "Say Anything." But she's not too embittered to try romance again; in "Mr. Harris," she sang about falling in love with a much older man, saying, "I'm happy with whatever time we get."
Ms. Mann's band used Beatles style, from Ringo Starr's drumming to George Harrison's guitar solos, as a template in material from Ms. Mann's current album, "Whatever," (Imago) and her previous albums on her own and with 'Til Tuesday. On Monday, the band sounded unseasoned; it hit all the notes of the songs without making them breathe, leaving Ms. Mann's voice to lend them the warmth they needed.
One encore was a pop rarity. Ms. Mann's band included Dave Gregory, a member of XTC. Up from the audience came XTC's Andy Partridge, whose stage fright has made XTC a reclusive, studio-only band. But Mr. Partridge shared microphone with Ms. Mann and belted "Kaleidoscope" by the Dukes of Stratosphear (alias XTC), with tambourine in hand and a big grin on his face.
PHOTO CREDIT: Aimee Mann and Andy Partridge singing "Collideascope" at The Bottom Line on November 15, 1993 (photo by Larry Busacca/Retna), submitted by Jill Weisenfeld
ARTICLE SUBMITTED BY: Andrea Weiss, March 5, 1999