Aimee Mann’s sixth album of original material, 2008’s @#%&*! Smilers, is her best work yet. It’s the first since Bachelor No. 2 to work as a simple collection of songs and not a concept album and perhaps it was that freedom that allowed her to produce such a consistently great record.
This is one of those albums that feels like it’s always one step ahead of you, taking unexpected turns that seem perfectly obvious in retrospect. It’s the rare album about which you can say “There isn’t a moment on this record I don’t love.”