Song of the Day #1,511: ‘Invisible’ – Michael Penn

Time for some more ‘Pure Pop,’ this time in the person of Mr. Michael Penn.

Penn’s biggest influence has always been the ultimate pop band, The Beatles, and he’s never really strayed from his winning formula.

From the “Romeo in black jeans” exuberance of his first and only hit, ‘No Myth,’ to the last track of his last album, 2005’s Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947, Penn has delivered one hook after another, demonstrating talent and consistency that his more famous contemporaries would kill for.

I was hoping when I Google his name for this blog entry, I’d discover (as I so often do) that he had a new album in the works. Alas, no such luck. Though he has contributed music to some movies and television shows (most recently the HBO series Girls), no album is forthcoming. Seven years and counting.

Penn is a guitar guy through and through… he has used a piano a few times but certainly doesn’t qualify for that strand of my musical genome. Nor has he ever tried his hand at the country genre. I don’t detect much of a folk rock influence in his work, either… it has far too bright a sheen.

But, in what’s becoming a trend, he does have a knack for the melancholy. That makes sense given that he’s married to Aimee Mann. Perhaps they lie in bed at night and sing sad songs to each other.

She’s there separating
Orange from rind
And I sit at her station every time

So what ever happened to
Common courtesy
Now one in a million
Seems one more than me

I don’t mind just watching her
Parading for customers
But everybody bayed as I
Slowly fade

I go invisible
Don’t give me away

She’s there pouring coffee
Watching the time
And i sit half amazed
That she’s pouring mine

She said that she’d always
Pegged me as gay
And she only plays for keeps
When she plays

Well isn’t that something
You’re pulling my heart strings
But what you gonna do when you
Slowly fade

I feel invincible
She went invisible
Don’t give me away
I go invisible
Don’t give me away

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,511: ‘Invisible’ – Michael Penn

  1. Dana says:

    I feel like there is some folk rock influence in his music, but I suppose he may be better classified under pop. Odd though to put him there since, pop connotes popular, and, save for one hit song, he hasn’t been able to put across another hit song in 20 plus years.

  2. Amy says:

    I probably don’t have to say it at this point, do I? Singer/songwriter…

    So what is pop as a category? Packaged, maybe. An exec who goes out to find the right face with which to pair the right song (which has not been written by the mind belonging to that face), dress him in the right clothes (trend gurus providing the “right” insight), then auto tune his voice so it has the “right” sound, place him on the “right” stations to get airplay…. to me, that’s pop.

    Michael Penn is an artist, who, as Dana pointed out, has not had a song on the charts in decades.

  3. Clay says:

    The “pop” you’re talking about is more of a music industry designation. The “pop” I’m talking about it a style of music. The Beatles certainly weren’t pop in the packaged sense, but they were absolutely pop.

  4. Dana says:

    Well, the Beatles early recordings were pop–one could argue that, by the time you got to the White Album, Sgt. Peppers, Abbey Road and Let it Be, they were far more diverse than pop. The hits on those albums stemmed from the Beatles’ popularity, but not fro the music industry designation of “pop,”

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