Copyright 1995 The Independent
October 25, 1995
LENGTH: 204 words
HEADLINE: I'm With Stupid Review
Her first album for Geffen finds Aimee Mann in familiar territory,
endlessly dissecting a failed relationship through a series of
break-up ballads and tart analogies. In a perfect pop world, she would
get together with Jarvis Cocker just so they could split up and write
a matching pair of albums about the affair.
Unlike her previous work, however, I'm with Stupid is hard going and
rather difficult to like, both in terms of the arrangements, which
veer between the eccentric and the leadenly rocky, and the lyrics,
which are more confrontational than confessional: "Sugar Coated",
contrary to its title, is not so much a song as an harangue, purest
bile wrapped in a crisp, bitter coating.
The single "That's Just What You Are" is by some distance the best
track here, sounding almost even-handed at the side of the bleak
despondency of "Amateur" and the violent recrimination of "You Could
Make a Killing". But where the close proximity to emotional distress
might spur other songwriters to new feats of inspiration, on I'm with
Stupid the nakedness of the hurt poisons Mann's usual objectivity,
resulting in her least impressive work since the first 'Til Tuesday
album. It's not art, it's heartbreak.