Copyright 1996 Time-Warner, Inc.
April 8, 1996
LENGTH: 250 words
DATE: April 8, 1996: Volume 147, No. 15
BYLINE: David E. Thigpen
TITLE: Her songs are captivating, but Aimee Mann is overlooked
Aimee Mann deserves a place of special honor in the somewhat crowded pantheon of great singer-songwriters who have never got their due. A decade ago--before Alanis Morissette, Tori Amos and the latest wave of female alternative rockers began road-testing designer-packaged angst--Mann was cracking the Top 10 with her band 'Til Tuesday and their million-selling debut single, Voices Carry. Her gorgeously crafted, McCartneyesque melodies and her lyrical bent for evening the score with slippery record execs and self-absorbed lovers not only made for refreshingly pungent pop, it also became the blueprint for today's hottest rock archetype: the take-no-prisoners angry young woman.
Mann's first solo album, 1993's Whatever, sold only 130,000 copies but still showed her increasing depth as a songwriter. The title of her new solo album, I'm with Stupid (Geffen), is rife with meaning; she's probably fingering her old record label, Imago, whose financial instability delayed this record for two years. "You pay for the hands they're shaking/ As they struggle with the undertaking/ of simple thought," she cracks on the title song. Lyrically, her acid tongue remains; musically, I'm with Stupid rates as one of the catchiest pop albums of the year, brimming with poised three-minute mini-masterpieces. Mann has the same skill that great tunesmiths like McCartney and Neil Young have: the knack for writing simple, beautiful, instantly engaging songs. She may never sell millions like today's heart-on-the-sleeve emoters, but it's an even better bet that none of them will ever write songs as captivating as this.