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Make A Killing: Aimee Mann, song-by song

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, Feb 21, 2021.

  1. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    I think that "Save Me" deserves all the accolades it's gotten over the years, even if there are many other Aimee Mann songs that deserve just as much. No, it's not better than those, but it's certainly a great song in my book. Mainly, her voice: so relaxed but there's this thing she does that is so emotional and real: the melody is great, the arrangement, pure classic pop. I love everything about it and the lyrics touch me very deeply.

    5/5
     
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  2. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today's song is "Backfire [Bachelor No. 2 Version]", written by Aimee Mann and Jon Brion; produced by Jon Brion and Aimee Mann; recorded by Mike Deneen.

    Lyric.

    Aimee Mann: vocals, acoustic guitar, piano
    Jon Brion: bass, percussion, marimba, vibes and chamberlin
    Michael Lockwood: electric guitars
    John Sands: drums
    Glenn Tilbrook: backing vocals

    "Backfire" was released on the European version of Bachelor No. 2. Later, a different version of the song was released as a B-side on the Humpty Dumpty single. I'm planning to hold that version up separately after we've gone through Lost In Space.
     
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  3. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    Backfire

    Sorry, but this song is just bog standard. Unquestionably C level material in the Aimee Mann catalog. Americans who didn't get this originally didn't miss out on anything. Forced to listen to this again for the purposes of commenting, I am reminded that this song is somewhat annoying to me, and a song that I would actively skip.

    2/5
     
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  4. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    Backfire sounds to me like an outtake from I'm With Stupid that received further production and a mix that puts it outside of the sound of I'm With Stupid. The credits, especially John Sands and Glenn Tilbrook would back this up.

    It's good, but to my ears doesn't fit on Bachelor No. 2. When I listen to my copy of the European edition (it's actually an Australian edition), it sticks out like a sore thumb. On the other hand, for me it would have been a good fit on I'm With Stupid.

    4/5
     
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  5. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    I agree, absolutely. I'm not sure why she felt it needed to go on the re-do of Bachelor No. 2. But it absolutely is a sweet sounding song that does deserve listeners.

    4.3/5
     
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  6. captouch

    captouch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    Backfire

    Agree that it doesn’t really fit into Bachelor No 2 and my first exposure to it was the different version on the Humpty Dumpty single. It doesn’t really fit into the highly produced/layered Whatever or more grungy guitar driven I’m With Stupid. But when I first heard it, after being very familiar with the Lost in Space album, was “Cool! Aimee’s doing fun upbeat songs again!”

    I like the prominent acoustic guitar, younger sounding Aimee vocal, her vocal energy/expression, and it’s catchy. The male background vocals, standing out from the usual female background vocals, also makes it a bit different and a good change of pace.

    It’s one of those Aimee songs like “That’s Just What You Are” where I can just put it on repeat and enjoy the bouncy pleasantness and poppyness of it without taking it seriously or pondering its lyrical depth/meaning. If she went all in on this direction, I wouldn’t like it, but a song or two from every album (which is now like every 4-5yrs!) or at least available on a B-side or readily available outtake, by all means, I love it.

    Probably over grading it due to my appreciation for it being available in this era and being so different from her other stuff in the same era, but oh well.

    4.7/5
     
  7. Transience

    Transience Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Agree that it sounds very much like an outtake from Stupid, that ending could certainly put it in that period along with the backing vocals. I think the first time i heard it i was overjoyed to get something new that wasn't on the US version that i already had at that point. It's not bad but it is definitely out of place on Bachelor No 2.
    3.9/5
     
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  8. janine'sdream

    janine'sdream Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    I certainly agree this sticks out like a sore thumb on Batchelor. When I got the UK edition I was initially excited to lose a song I already had on Magnolia, and have it replaced with a totally new song, but it really doesn't work. Furthermore, where as Build that Wall is a perfect example of Jon Brion elegantly enhancing a song, this is the opposite - it's all bells and whistles egregiously placed to paper over the fact that this isn't a particularly good song to begin with.

    I am immediately put off by the lyrics. I know she's not talking to the listener, but when she sings " I'm all out of any explanation of what I'm on about" it doesn't make you want to engage! And the chorus just meanders, layering backing vocals in a desperate attempt to make the song take off.

    I think this would be 100% fine as a b-side. I like the fact that it's poppy, and quite light, and up-tempo. But it doesn't belong on this album, it would also have been a weak link on I'm With Stupid, and it's definitely one of her least compelling songs to this point. 2
     
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  9. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    It's bouncy, upbeat fun, but no it's not a highlight of album. Interesting to learn it's a Stupid outtake, lots of trivia in this thread I had no clue about.

    I'm interested to know why she recorded an alternative version but I guess we'll get there after Lost In Space. At the time of that album I was a really fan, so I picked up the Humpty Dumpty cd single. I miss the old cd singles :).

    3.2/5
     
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  10. Patanoia

    Patanoia Third Ear Centre

    Location:
    Grapevine, TX
    I think this would have sat well on "I'm With Stupid" (replacing "Superball", perhaps). The lyrics are full of run-on sentences and mixed metaphors (from an avalanche to a lifeguard in one verse), painting a picture of a character who is trying to talk herself into and/or out of getting involved with someone. Definitely not right for Bachelor No. 2 (and not on the RSD reissue with bonus tracks), but 3.6/5. Interesting that she revisited it later.
     
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  11. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "Backfire"

    1-0
    2-2
    3-1
    4-4
    5-1
    Average: 3.4625
     
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  12. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Rotten timing today, as I have an unexpected early lesson. Only one lesson but then my wife is dragging me to a spa so I'll not be able to introduce Lost in Space until later. i'll post in the afternoon.
     
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  13. HuntingBare

    HuntingBare Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Spa schma! Tell her to get her priorities straight. ;-)
     
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  14. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today, I'll start holding up songs from Lost In Space.

    Magnolia
    and Bachelor No. 2 had sort of re-established Aimee Mann as a songwriter of note and acclaim, if not exactly a huge star, and the fact that she was now a fully independent artist meant that she was not really in any danger of slipping into complete record company imposed obscurity. She and her husband, Michael Penn, came up with a concept called Acoustic Vaudeville, in which she toured with some popular comedians -- stand up comedy being an artform she had long admired.

    In the meantime, she took her time recording a follow up to Bachelor No. 2, spending up to eighteen months off and on working in a variety of studios. According to a Billboard magazine article she and her band alternated between recording and playing shows (which paid for the recordings, no doubt.)
    The album was produced mainly by Michael Lockwood, her guitarist and by now her right-hand man. Mike Denneen and Ryan Freeland also contributed production to several songs and it seems to have been recorded mainly by her band with a few guests.

    It was released on her own label, SuperEgo Records, again, on August 27th, 2002. Overall sales were relatively modest, but showed that her stable fan-base remained. However it was her highest charting album since Voices Carry, peaking at #32 on the US album chart and #72 in the UK. By 2008, Lost In Space had sold 232,000 copies in the US.

    Reviews of the album were largely positive with a few exceptions: (Christgau bizarrely wrote "For her fans, the news is that she's invested her profits in studio musicians. Takes talent to make that more boring than solo acoustic, no?, which to me indicates what I already knew: Christgau really doesn't listen to records at all, does he?)

    Anyway this was the tracklist:
    1. Humpty Dumpty (Aimee Mann)
    2. High On Sunday 51 (Mann; Paul Dalen)
    3. Lost In Space (Mann)
    4. This Is How It Goes (Mann)
    5. Guys Like Me (Mann)
    6. Pavlov's Bell (Mann)
    7. Real Bad News (Mann)
    8. Invisible Ink (Mann; Clayton Scoble)
    9. Today's The Day (Mann)
    10. The Moth (Mann)
    11. It's Not (Mann)
    In addition I plan to hold the following up:
    • Two Of Us (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) {2001,from the I Am Sam soundtrack}
    • Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) {2001,from the I Am Sam soundtrack}
    • Night Owl (Dan Zanes){(2002,from Night Time! by Dan Zane and Friends}
    • Night Mare Girl (Mann) {B-side, Humpty Dumpty}
    • Backfire (Mann) {B-side Humpty Dumpty}
    • Fighting The Stall (Mann) {outtake, released in 2003 on Lost In Space Deluxe}
    • Observatory (Mann, Tilbrook) {outtake, released in 2003 on Lost In Space Deluxe}
    • The Scientist [live] (Guy Berryman, Johnny Buckland, Will Champion, Chris Martin){2003, released in 2003 on Lost and Space Deluxe
    • Live AT St. Ann's Warehouse
    So, unless I've forgotten anything, it looks like I'll start holding songs up from The Forgotten Arm on about the 2nd of July.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021 at 7:44 AM
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  15. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today's song is "Humpty Dumpty", written by Aimee Mann and produced by Michael Lockwood; arranged by Mike Deneen; recorded by Michael Lockwood and Ryan Freeland. Mixed by Ryan Freeland.

    Aimee Mann – Humpty Dumpty Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

    Aimee Mann: vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, synthesizer, tambourine,
    Michael Lockwood: guitars, synthesizer, Chamberlin,
    John Sands: drums, shakers
    Darian Sahanaja and Buddy Judge: backing vocals

    A live version of "Humpty Dumpty" was also released on the DVD version of Live At St Ann's Warehouse, recorded and released in 2004.
     
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  16. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    If anybody would like to rate and review Magnolia: Songs By Aimee Mann today would also be a good day for that!
     
  17. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    Humpty Dumpty

    A very good Aimee Mann song. Good verses, good chorus. Decent arrangement, although I can't help but miss the touch of Jon Brion. The quote stuff from Humpty Dumpty seems like padding.

    Saw Aimee on the tour with the comedian around this time, at the Somerville theater in Davis square outside of Boston. It was good, but I didn't think that on the whole having a comedian do the interstitials was a positive.

    4/5
     
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  18. Transience

    Transience Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    With Lost In Space she managed to take off in different direction again and the time it took to produce, shows. By this point her voice has taken on a new maturity, Humpty Dumpty shows that off and is a great scene setter for the album.

    4.7/5
     
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  19. Transience

    Transience Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Apologies to Lance again for going slightly off thread but I've just discovered this recent release:



    Does anyone know anything about it? It really doesn't sound anything like the sort of thing she would usually do. Is there another Aimee Mann? It's also on Spotify under her catalogue.
     
  20. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    The clip's YouTube page only shows her as the composer, it says the producer is Raz Kfir. A quick search turns up About us – Psy Raz , and the song shows up on his homepage in the "Raz 2020 Top Tracks" Spotify list. That leads me to assume he's also the performer. At most, this Raz fellow adapted a melody by Aimee (which I don't recognize) and at least gave her credit.

    It's also very possible it has nothing to do with Aimee, the YouTube page was auto-generated by YouTube.
     
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  21. Transience

    Transience Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    I agree but it's on Spotify too and listed quite prominently on her discography page. They don't usually do that unless there was a significant contribution. As you say it could just be that Raz has adapted something originally written by her but if so, i don't recognise it.
     
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  22. captouch

    captouch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    Magnolia: Songs by Aimee Mann

    This collection of songs, as brief as it may be, may be my favorite. And much like it’s easier to run a great race in a sprint vs a marathon, some of this may have to do with there being less room for weak tracks. A lot may also be due to the fact that this was my first introduction to solo Aimee and it happened during a transitional period of my life when I had moved a couple thousand miles away from the state I had always lived in and was largely alone/isolated and maybe that made the songs sink in more.

    But I noticed as we covered the individual songs that I was rating many of these consistently higher than most, with some outright not caring for Momentum, Build That Wall, etc. Even though it’s a bit of a mish mash in terms of origin and time, it holds together for me as a set of diverse, quirky, clever, heartfelt songs that balanced songwriting maturity and sophistication with more energized singing/performances. What came before was more focused on first person relationship troubles and what came after were mostly arms length distanced topics sung in a more deadpan manner. Sure, I would have preferred the vocal track vs instrumental of Nothing is Good Enough, but as the only album that contains Momentum, Build That Wall, Wise Up, and Save Me, I can’t help but see it as a great album.

    I was also really psyched a lot of the tracks finally made it on vinyl with the expanded Bachelor No 2 RSD release last year.

    5/5
     
  23. captouch

    captouch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    Humpty Dumpty

    A good song and representative of the very good album to come. It drags just a bit to me though - there’s a lower energy aspect to it that, but it’s a progression of her songwriting, so I still appreciate it for what it is.

    4.2/5
     
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  24. Patanoia

    Patanoia Third Ear Centre

    Location:
    Grapevine, TX
    Humpty Dumpty: I'm usually not a fan of songwriters using a nursery rhyme as the basis for a song but Aimee gets away with it, even the "all the king's horses" refrain. Fantastic chorus. I agree with @Transience on the maturity in her voice. She just seems overall more assured on "Lost in Space". 4.7/5.

    Magnolia: Playing it again recently for this thread, I had forgotten that it starts with what I consider three sub-par songs, but then recovers with "Deathly" and we're off to the races. Slight dip for the instrumental. (And then Supertramp, Gabrielle and Jon Brion at the end.) Tough to rate. 4/5.
     
  25. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Yes this is possibly the ideal solution to this era; still I find some of the songs, and especially “One” really stand out like a sore thumb. That’s why I end up just making playlists!
     
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