This Week I Love …

aimee-mann

… Aimee Mann.

I consider myself a lapsed musician. I sang from age five with my family, did countless choirs and musical theater productions throughout school, was music director of my college a-cappella group, and fronted several bands. It’s been a long time since I wrote a new song or sang for a crowd, but I’ve done both. For ages. And Aimee Mann has been one of my musical heros since I first heard “Whatever” back in middle school. The clincher for me? There’s a lyric on that album that goes, “And she’s got the river down which I sold her.” Grammatically correct songwriting is my kryptonite. Helps, too, that Mann writes great hooks and amazing story songs, has a uniquely earnest and plaintive voice, and consistently releases albums that are beautifully produced, engaging to hear, and gobs of fun to sing along to.

She was also hilarious on Portlandia. And Buffy. And in The Big Lebowski. My guess is she’s a very clever, fun, ridiculously smart person.

I never gave much thought to Mann’s style until I saw her in concert when she toured for “Lost in Space.” During that time, she mostly dressed like this:

AIMEE_MANN_TIES_VESTS

one | two | three

I loved her take on menswear chic, and I certainly admired her choice to be extremely covered-up in an era that focuses on cleavage and exposure and super-sexy-see-through outfits. Like most people, Mann’s style has shifted quite a bit over time but she’s always struck me as someone who is comfortable in her own skin and makes style choices based on her own preferences. Sure, her looks follow the trends to some extent, but she always looks a little edgy and rebellious, a little tough, and definitely more laid-back than uptight.

aimee mann style

one (album cover, 1993) | two (2012) | three (2006) | four (2014) | five (album cover, 2000)

I love a little mindless dance pop as much as the next person, but when I want to think and feel I’m more likely to reach for an Aimee Mann album. She explores everything from May-December romances, to the links between charisma and narcissism, to the paralysis of depression, to our fascination with bad boys and bad choices. I admire her so much for writing insightful, funny love songs and perhaps even more for writing incisive, emotional, unusual songs about how complicated and trying it can be to be a human. She’s a gifted musician and lyricist, a woman who seems to dress primarily for her own self-expression and pleasure, and I sincerely hope I can cook her a spaghetti dinner someday.

Anyone else an Aimee Mann fan? From Til Tuesday times, or more recent? Have you heard her new collaboration with Ted Leo?

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8 Responses to “This Week I Love …”

  1. Helen Strother

    Love Aimee Mann. What a talent she has with words!! My favorite example:

    As we were speaking of the devil

    You walked right in

    Wearing hubris like a medal

    You revel in

    But it’s me at whom you’ll level

    Your javelin’

    Paul Simon is another favorite “Boy in the bubble and the baby with the babbling heart”. And the master, Warren Zevon “Little old lady mutilated late last night”. Rolls off the tongue and fun to say but such a disturbing image.

  2. Sallie Stephens

    I also love Aimee Mann. I became a fan when I saw the movie “Magnolia” . I bought the soundtrack and was smitten with her sound and her lyrics. I don’t know a lot of other people who are big fans of hers, so it’s neat to see someone else bring her up in a blog. Cool.

  3. bubu2

    Like her a lot — last saw her perform in the Lost in Space tour (one of my favorite albums) but have not really been following her since — will need to correct that!

  4. wonkyone15

    I love Aimee Mann too! I also discovered her through the Magnolia soundtrack. I saw her and her husband Michael Penn play a show together at the Guthrie Theater/Walker Art Center in Minneapolis when I was in college. It was an amazing show and made me a fan of his too! I haven’t listened to her albums lately, but now I am inspired to break out my college soundtracks and reminisce, so thanks for the reminder of how awesome she is!

  5. Heidi/FranticButFab

    I love Aimee Mann! I saw her and Michael Penn in concert at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Va. in 2000 and Patton Oswalt (!) was their opening act. What a show. If it was possible to wear grooves in a CD, I would have done so with “Bachelor No. 2.” I didn’t love “Lost in Space” as much, so I’ve drifted away a bit from her music, even as I’ve followed along with her in general pop culture (the “Portlandia” guest stuff was so good). Need to pull her up on Spotify and re-acquaint myself.

    If you like literate lyrics, check out the Weakerthans.

  6. YesGrrrl

    I’m a big fan too, and love her style, too! I live about an hour away from LA where she plays quite often at the Largo theatre. She is also a frequent guest on many podcasts and comedy-variety shows with other performers who are Largo regulars. She’s appeared at least a few times on “Wit” (I think it’s from Mpls public radio, no?). Her holiday show is also FANTASTIC if you ever get a chance to see it. Search YouTube for clips….. She is indeed very funny and snarky and smart! 🙂

    Ted Leo is a separate fave so I was happy to see this collaboration. Love live Aimee Mann!