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[music, albums]

XXX: 2000 Aimee Mann - Bachelor No. 2 or the last remains of the dodo

Aimee Mann - Bachelor No.2

This was an extremely difficult choice as in 2000 there were at least eight great albums which could have been on the top spot. The Go-Betweens charming reunion album The Friends of Rachel Worth, The Montgolfier Brothers intimate debut Seventeen Stars which has the most spell-binding songs, Johnny Cash's second last Solitary Man with a cover of Nick Cave's Mercy Seat that sends the chills down my spine, Lambchop's lush and soulful Nixon, Giant Sand's most accessible Chore of Enchantment which is a moving tribute to Howe Gelb's short-lived friend, the inspired National guitar player Rainer Ptacek, Godspeed's atmospheric and dynamic postrock apex Lift Your Skinny Fists... (the poll winner) and finally Yo La Tengo's mellow nightscape album And then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out.

Aimee Mann leads the pack as she released the most consistent and subtle album with her breakthrough Bachelor No. 2. When I listened to this CD for the first time I had this feeling that I had heard the music beforehand. The tunes are so classic, her voice is so perfect, this is an album which had slumbered in the subconsciousness of mankind. It's hard to explain. Like a platonic idea.

I said this before, Aimee Mann on this album sounds like I would have liked Joni Mitchell to have sounded in 2000. And she even looks like her! Her songs are sad and lyrically challenging. The melodies are simpler and more immediate than Joni's but they are still profound (whatever that means). Another parallel I found was the charismatic stage presence. On the live at St. Ann's Warehouse DVD (Larry Coryell's son Julian is doing some phantastic guitar wahwah work on there) from last year her in between song banter totally captivates me. She is a natural born performer. I more or less started weblogging with a post on a concert of hers in 2001 where she was rather shy and I am very much looking forward to see her again in Frankfurt in the Café Royal on July, 5th.

I think it is her voice that overwhelms me most. It is slightly nasal but crystally clear at the same time. Totally classy. She was raised in England, maybe this is the reason her intonation is so glistening. Blends are so much more fascinating than pure things. But of course her voice preserves a purity as well. God how was I disappointed when she said in an interview on the aforementioned DVD that one of the two covers she has played was Coldplay's The Scientist. What a rubbish song. What a rubbish band. I mean she comes close to kitsch sometimes but she never trespasses the border to nullity. Like Neil Young on Harvest she is always on the good side of sentimentality. Whereas that band with that singer without a voice who writes meaningless generic lyrics only produces zeroness. There is a natural law of bullshit here. The more succesful that band will become the more empty their music will be. The public will get exactly what they want. Strike out.

Back to Aimee. Why do I have the feeling that I have to defend her? To defend her mainstreamishness, the easiness of her music. It's this weird old prejudice of mine that pop music can't be any good. It doesn't help that the record companies didn't care for her. Her charm does not lie in the fact that she said a big f*ck u to those short-sighted dollar-oriented molochs. She goes her own way. She does her own thing. And on Bachelor No. 2 she succeeds. Most of the time at least. It's a record which should be savoured. An album which is prone to be killed by overplay. But if you listen to it once in a while it guards its charms. That's what worked for me in the last couple of years at least.

The teaser is Susan. A song which reminds me of Joni Mitchell's Amelia somehow. It's more upbeat though.

Here is the overview of the series 40 years, 40 albums of which part XXX was this post.



went wrong here. And I know why. It is easy to write bad reviews but usually it is really hard to post them. I know of a substance which consumed immoderately almost guarantees bad writing and the courage to post it at the same time. Quite sad how my writing gets more and more trite with every paragraph. The start wasn't too bad after all.

Now I feel like one of those people who talks to himself on his mobile phone. What a great application of this gadget.

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you're being far too tough on yourself. you can always find a better way of writing something if you let it brew for ages and ages but, in many cases, that lacks the immediacy of the first cut.

i agree with everything you said about the album, btw (although i did get confused with the bit where it was crossed out). a terrific album - one she will find hard to beat.

and, yes, her new one is only ok. i've listened to it less than 'lost in space' but will wait patiently as her albums are always growers for me. to many people LIS is her prime moment! it does have some great lyrics at least. the new one seems really forced. and she really does need to get the rock out a bit more.

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It's always worth struggling through: we like to read your writing.

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... comment

last updated: 2/23/21 8:55 AM
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