Copyright 1999 Times Mirror Company
Los Angeles Times
December 8, 1999, Wednesday, Home Edition
SECTION: Calendar; Part F; Page 7; Entertainment Desk
LENGTH: 248 words
HEADLINE: ALBUM REVIEW;
VULNERABILITY IS AT THE HEART OF MANN'S 'MAGNOLIA' SONGS
BYLINE: NATALIE NICHOLS
*** VARIOUS ARTISTS
"Music From the Motion Picture 'Magnolia' "
Aimee Mann's deceptively genteel pop songs dissect complex emotional conflicts with laser-like precision and unnerving resonance. Her gift for encapsulating the inner turbulence of relationships directly inspired "Boogie Nights" director Paul Thomas Anderson--a longtime fan and friend of the L.A.-based singer-songwriter--in writing his new film, "Magnolia."
Although Mann's tunes (a few of which overlap her own forthcoming release, "Bachelor No. 2") are so tightly interwoven with the film that one character's dialogue in the movie encompasses a line from the wry ballad "Deathly," you can enjoy this 13-track album on its own merits, i.e., her eight originals and her version of Three Dog Night's 1969 hit "One." (Also included are two '70s Supertramp hits, British singer Gabrielle's '93 single "Dreams" and a selection from the score by Jon Brion.)
Laid-back but not without urgency, Mann's soprano has a deadpan quality that sweetens the lyrics' notes of uncertainty, self-reproach and vulnerability in such tunes as "Wise Up" and "Save Me." The music's jazz-pop touches, Beach Boys-like backing vocals and blend of acoustic and electric instruments make it almost soothing to contemplate those restless, familiar feelings that always come with this thing called love.