Mann recorded three albums with Til Tuesday in the mid to late 80s, the best of which is 1988’s Everything’s Different Now. The band broke up after that release, largely because Mann wanted to take her music in a more acoustic, less New Wave, direction.
Mental Illness – Aimee Mann (2017)
Aimee Mann did not have a very productive decade. She released Charmer in 2012, then a record paired up with alt-rocker Ted Leo in 2014, before wrapping things up with Mental Illness in 2017.
I can complain about the frequency, but not the content, especially Mental Illness, which ranks among the best releases of her career.
In one of those moments of sublime serendipity, the Random iTunes Fairy has offered up an Aimee Mann track exactly one week after the last random Aimee Mann track. You won’t hear me complaining.
In fact, back before Random Weekends, when I dedicated weekend posts to specific artists (The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello, among others), Aimee Mann was one of the artists I considered. At the time I was looking for artists with voluminous discographies and hers was a little on the lean side, but she easily could have carried several months’ worth of posts.
Hard to believe it’s already two years since Aimee Mann released her last album, the gorgeously melancholy Mental Illness. This was the sweetest, saddest Aimee Mann album an Aimee Mann fan could ever hope for.
Mann’s lyrics are always beautifully evocative even when they’re maddeningly inscrutable. Today’s SOTD, ‘Philly Sinks,’ appears to be about a man who abuses both alcohol and women, but that’s just a guess.
This pop rock masterpiece almost went unheard, as the record label didn’t hear a hit and held up its release. Mann bought back the rights and released it herself online, making it one of the first ever albums to find success with strictly digital distribution. Eventually she expanded the release to retail stores (how quaint that seems now) and the album went on to sell more than 200,000 copies.