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Aimee Mann – Whatever (1993)

November 2, 2016

usatunesoftheworldUnbelievable USA logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

USA Artists (so far): Aimee Mann

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[Album 480/1001]

I had a practically perfect narrative worked out for this one.

After the first listen, Whatever felt somewhat indistinguishable, very ho hum, very meh, very, well, whatever.

This is great, the review practically wrote itself, I’ll do the obligatory second listen and…oh, I really like that second track. Maybe I’ll give the whole thing another spin…or another dozen spins. Dang.

Don’t you just hate it when a practically perfect narrative is ruined by a practically perfect album?!

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Although the full album is far superior to my initial lukewarm impression, it’s the second track, 50 Years After the Fair, that is particularly special.

It’s unbelievably catchy, for one, but the true beauty lies in its deceivingly heartbreaking lyrics.aimee_mann_-_whatever

First, the optimism for better days ahead, helping people keep faith through the Great Depression:

“But how beautiful it was – ‘tomorrow’
We’ll never have a day of sorrow
We got through the ’30’s, but our belts were tight”

Not unlike that wonderful line from The Shawshank Redemption about hope being a good thing, maybe the best of things.

Only in this case, although the hope got them through, decades later, when the bright ‘tomorrow’ still hadn’t been realized, the hope was replaced by sadness:

“The future never came around
It hurts to even think of those days
The damage we do
By the hopes that we raise”

All of which, I missed entirely on the first listen, just nodding along with the gentle, uplifting melody.

That happy/sad, bleak/bright contrast is a common characteristic of most of my favourite artists; if Whatever is a good indication of the rest of her catalogue, I could see Aimee Mann joining that favourites list someday in the future.

A future, or ‘tomorrow,’ that I’m pretty sure will come around.

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From → 1990s

49 Comments
  1. I love love love this album, and I’m glad you came around to it. Still my favorite Aimee Mann record after all these years.

    • Thanks Rich – it’s because of albums like this that I made a mandatory ‘at least 2 listens’ policy, I would have missed out big time here if I’d just skimmed!

      • The at-least-2-listens policy is a good one. I’ve been doing that for at least 20 years. Have you heard Aimee’s second album? It’s nearly as good.

      • I’ve only heard this and the new song she performed on Colbert recently – but that’s a solid 2 for 2 so far, so I’m keen to hear more!

  2. Aimee Mann, eh? This is surprising… I can’t say I’ve ever been taken by anything of her’s I’ve heard (much like your initial response to the album!). Perhaps I should revisit…

    • I’d suggest revisiting one you weren’t so taken with – hopefully, like this one for me, it’ll keep getting better!

  3. I like Aimee Mann, so I fully endorse this post. But the real gem is how that track snuck up on you! YES!!

  4. Wow, unbelievable logo indeed. Well done AGAIN Sarca.

    Just got my PC back from the shop and catching up on posts. I always liked Aimee Mann and not just because of Rush!

  5. ‘Growers’ are great!

  6. BTW, the log is fabulous Sarca. Particularly like the retro cassettes in the background.

  7. My intro to Mann was indeed Rushs Time Stand Still….great voice! What a great Logo by Sarca! Well done…..

    • Thanks Deke!

    • Time Stand Still is playing as I type – I hadn’t realized she’d worked with Rush! Nice track, thanks for the intro to the tune Deke!

      • No worries Geoff….you should check out the video…80s Cheese but it is a great tune…

  8. I still have a copy of I’m With Stupid, taped from a friend’s CD 🙂 I never really listened to her first album, but now I might have to check it out.

    • Several of my favourites were discovered through that taped-from-friend’s CD format!
      I like the sounds of I’m With Stupid, thanks for reading Sourgirl!

  9. Embarrassingly, I haven’t listened to this one. Better get on that…

  10. Great review as always.

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