Lost in Space
our score: 3.5 out of 5.0
any fan of independent music can recite Aimee Mann's story. Having
spent a good chunk of the 80's fronting the new-wave pop outfit,
'Til Tuesday, Mann eventually left the group
three albums) to embark on
a solo career. Besides the modest hit 1995's "That's Just
What You Are," which was featured on the Melrose Place
Soundtrack, Mann's solo days were marred by two repetitions
of insignificance (Whatever and I'm With Stupid).
was the sudden rise to semi-stardom in 2000 as her songs were
prominently featured in the P.T. Anderson art-kitsch film Magnolia.
It was here that Mann finally got her sound in front of a truly
depressed audience which gobbled up her skillful, melancholic
songwriting. It was also during this time that Mann realized she'd
had enough of the bullshit she'd been put through by the major
labels and opted instead to release her new album, Bachelor
No. 2, under her own label - Superego Records.
Now in 2002,
there aren't any label problems to deal with, and Aimee Mann already
has pretty much all the fanbase she could ever hope for (especially
for a singer-songwriter). Still, she seems to have retained her
penchant for depressingly restrained singalongs. But then again,
that's been her shtick all along, and as usual it works pretty
opener and first single, "Humpty Dumpty" sets things
up in fine form. It's one of the strongest tracks here, and Mann's
songwriting abilities come through in full force with lines like
"All the perfect drugs / and superheroes / wouldn't be enough
/ to bring me up to zero" and "All the king's horses
and all the king's men / couldn't put baby together again."
It's just a small example of the poetic grasp Mann's always had,
and she's at her strongest (lyrically) on Lost in Space.
include the simple melancholic wanderings of "This Is How
It Goes" and the sarcastic strut of "Guys Like Me."
("Let's hear it for guys like me" she croons).
in Space seems to be missing something underneath it all.
And, more than likely this can be attributed to the switch to
Michael Lockwood as producer, rather than Jon Brion, who had worked
with Mann on most previous work (including Bachelor No. 2).
The music is more orchestral, and much less quirky than it used
to be. As a result, Lost In Space can start to drag from
time to time; it's missing the interspersed rays of hope that
used to come through on other work. (Think "Ghost World").
In spite of
these few glitches (if you can even call them that), Lost In
Space proudly carries the torch Mann lit years before in her
quest for intelligent, emotive musical poetry. She's in her forties,
but she's just finally reaching the goals she's set for herself.
She's the epitome of independent adult music, and Lost In Space
is another good reason to keep her there.
liked Lost in Spce...
1. Humpty Dumpty
2. High On Sunday 51
3. Lost In Space
4. This Is How It Goes
5. Guys Like Me
6. Pavlov's Bell
7. Real Bad News
8. Invisible Ink
9. Today's The Day
10. The Moth
11. It's Not