Aimee Mann is best known for her voice, which is instantly recognizable by anyone who has been listening to music for the past two decades. Her songs have appeared in many films and television series on account of their emotional lyrics and catchy hooks. With her latest album titled Charmer, Mann delivers on past promises of sorrow as she almost always does in her albums. Crooning alongside her for one song on the album is The Shins frontman James Mercer. The pairing does indeed produce excellent harmonies in their shared track Living a Lie, which makes one wonder why the last The Shins album was so underwhelming. Perhaps Mercer needs a Mann like force in his musical life to inject some much needed melancholy because, as always, Mann’s songs are bursting with stories of misfortune.
It might be an odd thing to point out but, Mann seems to have a bit of a thing for dogs, or at least songs that have canine imagery. Back in 2002 with her Lost in Space album she had Pavlvo’s Bell, a song about being trained to need something (in this case drugs) and the title itself refers to the famous Pavlov’s Bell experiment conducted with dogs and of course a bell. Now, with Mann’s latest album we have the track Labrador which is less about carrying out acts compulsively and more about being a good little pet and an emotional footstool. Oddly, both songs are among the strongest on their respective albums. No Aimee Mann album would be complete without a truly depressing track that somehow manages to make you feel better about your own life and for that look no further than Barfly.
Aimee Mann isn’t getting any better at making music and that’s not necessarily a bad thing to say. She isn’t getting any better because she doesn’t need to, Mann has been at the top of her game for years and she doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down.