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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Whatever

Aimee Mann

1993

Whatever
Album Summary

Whatever is the first solo album by the American singer-songwriter Aimee Mann, released in 1993. "I've Had It" is one of the songs featured in Nick Hornby's book 31 Songs. The album, with special note for the song "4th of July", was included by Elvis Costello in his "Costello's 500" list for Vanity Fair. It has also been included in the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die list.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.8

Votes

10105
Genres
Pop
Rock

Reviews

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Wed Sep 06 2023
3

This is like The Gilmore Girls in album form - not necessarily a bad thing! Had never heard of Aimee Mann before, and it definitely sounds of its time, but I enjoyed listening to it. The songwriting is really good. On another note, how much lazy misogyny is there in some of the reviews on this site?! "Mom rock", "stuff an ex girlfriend would make", etc... Come on, music dudes.

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Fri Oct 29 2021
2

- HELLO, IS THIS NASA? - YES. - GOOD. LISTEN. I'M SICK OF YOUR BORING SPACE LAUNCHES. I'M JUST AN ORDINARY, BLUE-COLLAR SLOB, BUT I KNOW WHAT I LIKES ON TV. - HOW DID YOU GET THIS NUMBER? - SHUT UP!

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Thu Aug 19 2021
1

"Whatever" she says, like she doesn't have a care in the world. Like she's not bothered about my opinion. Well, Aimee, you should be bothered. Here it is: I absolutely adore this fabulous gift you have given the world, you beautiful, beautiful woman. Thank you. Only joking, it's shite.

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Thu Oct 20 2022
3

Reasonable nice. It just kind of feels like the music an ex girlfriend would make. You want to be supportive and it’s cool she’s doing stuff but it all sounds a little bit average…

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Thu Sep 30 2021
2

Extremely mediocre 90's pop rock. The opening track grabbed me a little, but I quickly became bored with this album. Skippable, in a word.

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Wed Oct 20 2021
4

Aimee Mann is super talented. She writes and produces well crafted pop songs, almost Beatle-esque in quality. My only complaint about her is her songs sometimes lack emotion - she's almost too cool. Minor complaint though. Really well done debut solo album. 4 stars.

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Wed Sep 07 2022
3

I like her voice and the music is pleasent, although the country vibe is not for every mood. Good vibes but doesn't feature a memorable song.

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Thu Aug 19 2021
2

I did not like this very much.

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Thu Jan 11 2024
5

Disappointed to see all the lazy and sexist Lilith Fair comments here. Aimee Mann is one of the great but underrated pop songwriters of the late 20th/early 21st centuries and this is a wonderful solo debut.

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Sun Mar 06 2022
3

Amazing production. One of the best recorded albums on the list so far. I really enjoyed the vocals and multi-tracked harmonies. However, the songs are forgettable, ultimately taking away from such a great sound overall.

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Wed Mar 09 2022
2

The first half felt like I was trapped in a Macy's commercial from 2009, but the back half a a couple nice bits that brought it up a tad for me.

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Fri Jul 30 2021
1

Mom rock bullshit, sorry mom

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Fri Jan 12 2024
5

1st time listening to this. Love it. Great voice and music. Interesting lyrics.

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Wed Aug 12 2020
4

Whatever conjures up the best elements of surf-pop, new wave, and folk rock (Roger McGuinn has a benevolent eye cast over this recording). Out on her own with a truly great batch of confessional but self-assured songs, Aimee Mann crafted a classic right out the bag with her first solo record. I'm with Stupid was more openly defiant and rougher, but way back in 1993 Whatever already found Mann at the peak of her emotional and musical strength. Check out the layers of distorted guitars on "I Should've Known" coupled with an irresistible melody; the Byrds-isms on "Fifty-Years after the Fair" with its wonderful vocal harmonies and McGuinn's 12-string guitar resounding; the gang voices on "Say Anything" and the poignant "4th of July". Mann even tackles a May-September romance on "Mr. Harris" and sounds as dark as Days of Open Hand-era Suzanne Vega on "Jacob Marley's Chain". Meticulously produced (by Jon Brion), written and performed, Whatever is a pop powerhouse.

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Wed Jul 21 2021
4

The production and songwriting was pretty great

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Thu Sep 02 2021
4

mid tempo pleasantry. slightly over-wrought in places but I like her vocals. From a similar mould to Tori Amos with the alt turned down and the country turned up and that's no bad thing

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Fri Dec 10 2021
4

I am biased. Aimee Mann went to my high school. I wasn't aware of this fact until I was 24 and working on the film Magnolia. One of the sound guys brought his nephew to the set who was visiting from out of town. He was wearing a brown and orange Monican t-shirt. Aimee Mann happened to be on set that day and noticed the shirt. She said something along the lines to him, "Midlothian and Monican are high school rivals, and I attended Midlothian." A couple hours later she was gone and I approached him to comment on his shirt, saying basically the same thing. "You're the second person to tell me that today," he said. Crazy. What are the chances? I kept hoping she'd come back to the set before the end of filming, but she never did. A couple months later I worked on a Fiona Apple video with PTA and he was signing Magnolia soundtracks and giving them out to the crew. For the foreseeable future, I bought all of Aimee Mann's music and saw her perform a few times at Café Largo on Fairfax. She was great. All of this happened AFTER Whatever was released and until now, I wasn't super-familiar with this album. Jon Brion was heavily involved in the Magnolia soundtrack and he's here too. Though not as fully formed as her later work, the album has all the hallmarks of the work I know. Reaching vocals against basic distortion, slower acoustic songs with a smattering of samples with a heavy emphasis on her soothing voice. This album was best played in the 1990s in middle-suburbia. Ideally listened to on CD, but definitely in the bedrooms of late-teen-anxty girls who yearn for a life far from Midlothian and closer to Melrose Place.

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Fri Mar 25 2022
4

Reminds me a lot of Alanis. I like the music and angst behind her lyrics!

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Thu Sep 28 2023
4

Every bit of 90's rock with a female lead that you'd expect. Similar to Sheryl Crow and Meredith Brooks in vibe for me. A good mix of some moody, some peppy.

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Sun Mar 27 2022
3

I enjoyed listening to this, but found myself lingering on the album’s potential rather than the album itself . It’s not surprising that it’s Amy Mann’s first album because it seems like one of someone who hasn’t yet come into their own, which we all know Amy Mann does just a few years later. Instead of having an original take, this album takes the best of 90’s music and puts it all together. Which makes it good, but not great.

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Wed May 25 2022
3

I have always been a sucker for what I call "Lilith Fair music" -- you know the type: 90s singer songwriters that aren't too pop but aren't too rock, either. This album fits right into that. Also typical of artists in this category, the lyrics are often sharp and thought-provoking, overlaid on generally upbeat music. Even though I liked it based on the baseline qualifications mentioned above, I do feel like other females singer songwriters in the 90s did the same thing, only better. For me, it started to drag the longer it went on. Maybe somewhat forgettable to me, but it was very easy to listen to, though!

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Wed Jun 15 2022
3

Never heard of Aimee Mann before, but wow, the album really sucked me in. Her voice is nice, light, and airy. The songs feel like just the right mix of rock and pop. It might not stand out next to other albums, but it was a really enjoyable listen.

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Sun Oct 23 2022
3

3.1 - SCENE: Garage sale. Shopper approaches seller. Garage sale shopper: Hey, I grabbed a couple CDs from the box over there. Lemonheads and uhhh… (looks down at CD’s) Aimee Mann. How much? Seller: I was asking 75 cents a piece? Shopper: Would you take a buck for both? Seller: Sure, that works.

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Thu Aug 19 2021
2

Wetter than SHACK's luscious locks after one of his infamous six-hour showers.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
2

Wow, I hate this. Her voice is annoying and the style is very adult contemporary. 2

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Thu Sep 02 2021
1

I think its cool when someone's first and last name both end in double letters. That's potentially the most stand-out aspect of this album. Expert songwriting that sums into something unremarkable. This is a softball tossed underhand straight down the middle. No spin. No mustard. No funny business. No affect. No risks. No fun. D

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Fri Oct 29 2021
1

Boring, forgettable. You really have to wonder how some of these albums make it onto this list.

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Fri Aug 20 2021
5

This was really good. Not a bad song on here. Consider me a Mann Fann.

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Wed Jun 01 2022
5

I've loved this album since it came out. The slightly flat, pitchy vocals matched the 90s vibe for me. I'm just hoping that the 1001 trend of similar albums two days in a row brings some Juliana Hatfield. Swoon

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Mon Dec 12 2022
5

Really really good!! It felt like an unhinged Michelle Branch. I'd probably revisit it again.

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Fri Dec 30 2022
5

I first met Aimee Mann watching sitcoms, back in the (now) distant 90s. What a trip back in time listening to this CD, and the certainty that good music never ages.

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Wed Jan 25 2023
5

One of the best artist’s best albums

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Mon Aug 21 2023
5

I'd always thought of this as Aimee Mann's least strong album, and it's true (IMO) that she has better ones (Lost In Space, Forgotten Arm might be the top of the list), but I enjoyed this a lot more than I remembered.

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Wed Aug 30 2023
5

Mann's melancholy warbling was a perfect accompaniment to my granola-making on this chilly late-summer day.

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Wed Aug 30 2023
5

Not gonna lie that there is some 90's nostalgia here...but I love that!! I also loved this!!! You go, girl!

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Tue Sep 05 2023
5

All Aimee's lp's are worth having - but this the the must 'must have'. Gorgeous tunes and intelligent lyrics. Every home should have one. Jon Brion deserves praise too!

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Mon Oct 30 2023
5

10/10 reminds me of Poe, who I’m also a huge fan of

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Sun Nov 12 2023
5

Loved this — my first 5 star album of the project! I only knew one Aimee Mann song (Labrador), but I'm not surprised at all that I'm into this. I'm such a sucker for upbeat melodies with sad lyrics and female harmonies. A few of these were a little two slow to be top favorites, but I loved "Fifty Years After the Fair," "Put Me On Top," and "Stupid Thing." Also hilarious that she's got a song about Jacob Marley, I love A Christmas Carol.

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Sun Dec 10 2023
5

Aimee Mann is always 5 stars in my book. I could listen to anything of hers every day.

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Wed Dec 20 2023
5

I’ve never heard of Aimee Mann before, but I really enjoyed this album - she’s a clearly skilled songwriter and this album is packed with great songs.

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Wed Dec 27 2023
5

Nothing was saving our day There was nothing to say But you said something anyway Claiming I stepped out of line Which forced you to leave me As if that idea was mine. Oh, you stupid thing Speaking of course as your dear departed Oh, you stupid thing It wasn't me that you Outsmarted Oh, you stupid thing Stopping it all Before it even started I fucking love this album. 5/5

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Sun Jan 07 2024
5

I have loved Aimee Mann since watching Magnolia. This album being on here makes me wonder if there are others of here on here. Bachelor No. 2 is my favourite of hers. Here's hoping.

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Mon Feb 26 2024
5

Albums like this make this whole exercise 100% worth it. "Voices Carry" was always a not so guilty pleasure at the karaoke bar, and I've read a lot of critical praise since about her lengthy solo career, and of course her long term personal relationship with Michael Penn makes them sort of latter-day saints of Laurel Canyon, but none of it got me off the dime to actually check out her work. Masterful in every way. Immediately from the jump, just the basic sounds of it are interesting and well-considered in a way that betrays deep craftsmanship, care and, frankly, budget. But she knows how to spend that budget in a way few do. Compare the production to the flat monotony of Fiona Apple's album, for example. Or that of most albums on this list, for that matter. Over the course of its tunes, the same depth of manicured mastery is revealed in the songwriting, both musically and lyrically. This kind of well-rounded depth of talent is extra rare but as Charles De Gaulle once said, sort of, the cemetery is full of masterful albums made by talented people. And in the immortal words of Van Hagar, only time will tell if this we, this album and me, will stand the test of time. All I can say today is that any album that can be this genuinely interesting the very first time you hear it deserves the highest praise.

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Wed Mar 06 2024
5

Big lover of Till Tuesday…. Really enjoyed hearing her incredible vocals and lyrics… now, I just wanna hear more!!

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Fri Mar 22 2024
5

Surprisingly great acoustic Alanis

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Fri Mar 22 2024
5

This woman has a wonderful voice. Her story telling in song is fantastic. It was a great pleasure to discover this album.

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Mon Jul 12 2021
4

I enjoyed this. I should listen to her more.

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Fri Sep 03 2021
4

Aimee man, goed rustig popalbum!

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Fri Oct 15 2021
4

An ethereal, entrancing album, packed to the gills with pleasing tunes and a voice to match.

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Thu Nov 25 2021
4

11/23/2021 Today's Album: "Whatever" by Aimee Mann - This album is very easy on the ears. It sounds like a cross between Fleetwood Mac, R.E.M, and the 3 blonds. That classic rock backdrop with very interesting additions like sharp guitar solos floating around the channels or a variety of synths providing different backdrops. I really like a lot of the melodies here and the songs keep my attention with how they build and how good the production is. There are some slower songs that end up losing me and I think there are a lot of times where the singers vocals just don't really work with what's going on musically, but this is a very occasional problem and often her voice is extremely strong and smooth. This is 90s grunge throwing it back to some classic Fleetwood Mac sounds and I think it works out fairly well. Score: 7.5/10 Solid Highlights: I should have known, 50 years after the fair, put me on top, say anything, I know there's a word, Way back when.

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Thu Nov 25 2021
4

Solid country album, has a fun bit of rock and pop in it that gives it a strong identity. Good singer, good music, good vibe 7/10

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Fri Dec 24 2021
4

I'm a sucker for a good '90s alt/pop album and this one hits all the right notes for sure. Really fun. I'm surprised I haven't listened to her more.

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Fri Dec 31 2021
4

Excellent female singer-songwriter 90s alt rock. Feels like the kind of vibes that are popular again

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Sun Mar 06 2022
4

Decent pop/rock album with a storytelling style lyricism. Tad bit long but overall catchy enough to warrant 4 stars

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Wed Apr 27 2022
4

Prejak album, nadam se da cu je nastaviti slušati, a ne sam zaboravit

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Thu May 05 2022
4

I just love her voice. Not my favorite of hers, but still very enjoyable.

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Thu May 05 2022
4

I love pretty much everything about Aimee Mann. Her songwriting, tone, voice,… also she’s quite funny. I know it’s not genius or groundbreaking, but I return to her records all the time.

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Thu May 12 2022
4

Some good songs there. Nothing crazy though!

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Fri May 13 2022
4

Great voice and writing. Enjoyed her sound.

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Wed May 25 2022
4

this album surprised me; i wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as i did. i wish i found this album as a teenager. i would have grown such an attachment, and my former teenage self is mourning that loss. this album is a four, but i know i will listen to this album more. it could easily become a five! the songs are catchy, beautiful, witty. "jacob marley's chain"--everyone knows the reference but it's still fresh and sounds eerie. "i should've known" isn't the only song with attention grabbing lyrics, but this song definitely stood out. there's some great guitar work in here, too. lots of emotions, but it still makes for a lovely, calming listen. so many instruments among the album's personnel! perhaps this is the only album that has dixie cup within its liner notes?

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Wed Jun 01 2022
4

Never heard this but I do love some of Aimee Mann's stuff. I found a lot to like on here. Very lovely.

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Thu Jun 02 2022
4

The “til Tuesdayesque rocker that opens the record is a bit off-point in terms of what’s to come which is very polished and utterly winsome songwriter-powered pop. Just a treat to listen to, really, as was the whole career renaissance that followed.

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Mon Jul 25 2022
4

Great power pop, unmistakably produced by Jon Brion

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Wed Aug 31 2022
4

I hadn't ever listened to this particular album which is ridiculous because Aimee Mann is amazing.

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Mon Sep 19 2022
4

Just made me really sleepy and relaxed but defiantly a relaxed and clam album with Beautiful vocals along with nothing ever to fast but just slow so not too bad

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Fri Sep 30 2022
4

You could say I’m an Aimee Mann man

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Fri Oct 21 2022
4

Wonderful times less stories, sometimes can date itself in the music

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Thu Nov 10 2022
4

I need to listen to more Aimee Mann.

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Thu Dec 29 2022
4

Solid if unspectacular, but maybe an album that would benefit from repeated listening. Sounds kind of like a lot of artists I love, so probably someone I could get into. Really torn on how to score this - might as well err on the side of generosity!

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Fri Dec 30 2022
4

Not my cup of tea. Not bad, but did not get me interested.

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Wed Jan 11 2023
4

Catchy music. Clever lyrics. Nice.

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Fri Jan 13 2023
4

Really great, nice mix of styles.

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Fri Jan 20 2023
4

It's a little bit singer-songwriter, a little bit americana, all cloaked in the hue of the 90s, a little irony, a little alternative. Aimee's voice is very far up in the mix, but I think that's a good thing to focus on her writing, which is very strong, save a few spots. It's all very earnest, and I like it. Favorite tracks: "I Should've Known", "Say Anything", "I Could Hurt You Now"

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Thu Feb 23 2023
4

I don't know what Ben was talking about, this was pretty good.

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Thu Feb 23 2023
4

I was actually a little let down by this, not quite as good as lost in space or some of her other stuff, but still some great songs

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Thu Apr 20 2023
4

first listen great artistic pop record

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Tue Apr 25 2023
4

I had to listen to this a second time, because I felt I was missing something the first time I listened to it. It reminds me a bit of Tracy Bonham / PJ Harvey in some ways, but more in the troubadour-esque feel. Songs like "Fifty Years After The Fair" had a lot more maturity to it than I would expect for a first solo album. The opening number really kicked off the whole album, gave you a good sense of everything. "Say Anything" is probably one of my favorites off of this album. I felt there was a lot more to her voice here than what I was expecting (you know, the girl from 'Til Tuesday...). Hard to believe this is 30 years old. Really good starting album.

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Sun Apr 30 2023
4

First half I didn’t love possibly d/t some anti 90s prejudice but by the end I really started to enjoy it 3.75/5

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Sun May 21 2023
4

Before today, I'd never heard of Aimee Mann before, so was unsure what the album was going to be like. Aimee is a singer/songwriter, alternative artist with country influences. She sounds like Sheryl Crow, or Lucinda Williams. Her writing style is awesome, and really spins a story for the listener. The picture painted by her lyrics in the song Mr. Harris (her falling in love with an old dude who is raking leaves, and her mother dismissing it as a phase) was beautiful. Overall, a perfect album for a rainy Saturday. I was able to really listen to this record while sitting and drinking a cup of coffee this morning, it was perfectly suited for that. I enjoyed it so much I listened twice. Favourite songs: Put Me on Top, Could've Been Anyone, Stupid Thing, I Should've Known, Mr. Harris, Jacob Marley's Chain, Fifty Years After the Fair, I Could Hurt You Now, Way Back When Least favourite songs: Say Anything 4/5

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Sun May 28 2023
4

I might be more familiar with Aimee Mann as a podcast guest than as a musician, but I've always thought her to be a warm and intelligent presence. I think this is the type of album that would grow on repeated listens. The melodies are catchy if a little generic, but the lyrics I was able to parse were far more intriguing and honest. I'm typically unable to pay much attention to lyrics on first listen, focusing rather on the song as a whole, but I want to revisit this album while scrolling Genius. I think there's something here.

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Sat Jun 10 2023
4

7/10. You know this only made the list because Elvis Costello likes it, but I did rather enjoy it. Little long, though.

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Wed Jun 21 2023
4

Aimee Mann really knows how to write a song.

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Sun Jul 02 2023
4

This is better than most of the albums I've listened to so far, so while I'm not sure why it's on the albums you must listen to list, it's still a 4 just for being listenable.

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Fri Jul 21 2023
4

oh my god I loved this, poppy angst is so so good. Few moments that didn't hold up quite as well but I just had so much fun

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Sat Aug 05 2023
4

Bright literate songwriting. Nice contemporary pop music with catchy hooks, driving beats and clean clear production. 4 stars

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