martedì 24 giugno 2008

Aimee Mann - @#%& Smilers

'@#%& Smilers' è il settimo nuovo lavoro per la songwriter americana 'Aimee Mann'. Il disco esce a tre anni di distanza dal concept 'The Forgotten Arm', e contiene tredici canzoni che si addentrano nei lati più nascosti della gente, raccontando storie di persone comuni, lontane anni luce dall'essere persone di successo. Sguardi che consumano un bicchiere di whiskey, occhi che scrutano orizzonti lontani, fronti invecchiate, malinconia, il tutto raccontato con una poetica cruda e lucida. Storie di gente comune, storie nostre. Musicalmente i brani sono un delizioso affresco dolente e introspettivo che prende forma tanto dalla struttura delle canzoni di Neil Young o dei Beatles, quanto dagli arrangiamenti e dalla sensibilità tipica delle migliori cantautrici d’oltre Oceano, su tutte Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell e Tori Amos. In scaletta anche il bellissimo brano ‘True Believer’, scritto insieme all’amico di vecchia data Grant Lee Phillips ed il duetto con Sean Hayes dei ‘Ballantines’.


1. Freeway
2. Stranger Into Starman
3. Looking For Nothing
4. Phoenix
5. Borrowing Time
6. It's Over
7. 31 Today
8. Great Beyond
9. Medicine Wheel
10. Columbus Avenue
11. Little Tornado
12. True Believer
13. Ballantines

Artist: Aimee Mann
Title: @#%& Smilers
Genre: Songwriter
Release Year: 2008
Type: New release
Audio: CD

Testi di Aimee Mann
Official Web Site

This CD was difficult for me to review for several reasons. First, I was a Mann-fan from back in her days with ‘Til Tuesday. Second, I lost track of her until a little over a year or so ago, when she sang on a Jim White song, “Static In The Radio." I wasn’t familiar with her name after this long absence, and I’d either never heard or never noticed Jim White’s name, but that particular song caught my attention.

I guess I’m like a lot of people today who buy music. Gone are the days when I’d run out and buy a new album or CD based on the fact that I like the group and they have a new CD out. Actually, those days have been gone for a good 20 years or so. Like many people, I was “once burned, twice shy.” When the record companies began putting out CDs with one or two decent songs and the rest dreck, that’s when I became a careful shopper. After getting burned two or three times (OK, I was a little slow to catch on), I began scrutinizing the CDs before committing myself.

When I heard “Static,” though, I sat up and paid attention; then I read up on both White and Mann. I still wasn’t sold on White, mainly because I wasn’t familiar with any of his past work. But when I read that Mann had been the singer for ‘Til Tuesday (which I’d forgotten), I decided to give this CD a try.

Having it to do over again, I wouldn’t have picked up Smilers. I should have listened to my earlier cautions on buying. Not that this CD is bad; don’t get me wrong on that. I still think Mann has a terrific voice, her arrangements are well written and well executed. But the lyrics, while catchy, are bland. The songs on this CD make excellent pop music; however, I don’t usually listen to pop. It’s not worth it (to me) to wade through hours of pop music waiting for that one or two kernels of meaningful music. Also, if a song has lyrics, it’s important to me that they me meaningful, or amusing, or funny, or that they strike me in some other way. That they have an impact, to put it clearly.

I’m still in love with Aimee Mann’s voice but she’ll have to make big strides in her lyrics for me to pick up another CD by her in the future.

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