Copyright 2000 Times Mirror Company
Los Angeles Times
April 9, 2000, Sunday, Home Edition
SECTION: Calendar; Page 70; Calendar Desk
LENGTH: 284 words
HEADLINE: POP MUSIC;
BYLINE: NATALIE NICHOLS
'Bachelor No. 2"
It's ironic that Mann's third solo album is subtitled "Or, the Last Remains of the Dodo." The singer-songwriter's profile hasn't been so high since she fronted the band 'Til Tuesday, thanks to her Oscar nomination for best original song ("Save Me" from "Magnolia"), as well as her much publicized retrieval of this collection from Interscope Records after last year's PolyGram/Universal merger.
Although the self-released recording isn't expected in stores until May 2, it can be ordered online (http://www.aimeemann.com). This move puts Mann in the forefront of uncommercial but enduringly talented musicians connecting directly with audiences, now that they're no longer welcome at major labels where moneymaking pap rules. She deserves the attention, for these are 13 gorgeous and brilliantly understated songs (three of which overlap the "Magnolia" soundtrack) that examine relationships with the disbelief, doubt and disillusionment of people who seem quite sure of what they don't want, but less certain of what they should desire.
Tempered with Beatle-esque guitars, shimmering piano and prettily disaffected vocals, the cheery pessimism in such songs as "How Am I Different" and "Driving Sideways" seems an almost reluctant conclusion. Indeed, Mann's self-deprecating "(The Fall of the World's Own) Optimist" hints at a once-positive outlook being quashed, and there's an underlying sense to "Bachelor No. 2" that she's emphasizing cynicism in the hopes that someone will prove her wrong.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.
GRAPHIC: PHOTO: Aimee Mann is self-releasing her "Bachelor No. 2," first via the Net. PHOTOGRAPHER: CARLOS SERRAO