Music   

 

 

 

Reviews of Other Albums You Might Enjoy:

One More Drifter in the Snow, by Aimee Mann
CHRISTMAS ALBUM

Forgotten Arm, by Aimee Mann

Handcuff King, by Paul Bryan

Has Been, by William Shatner

I Am Sam Soundtrack

 

Aimee Mann in Concert:

Picture Show

 

 

g' rendition of 

Aimee Mann
Fucking Smilers

Album Review by LouV

One of the nice things about writing for an independent, alternative website like paperbacknovel.com, is that you can use words like “Fuck” and “Suck” which are taboo on commercial websites like yahoo and Cnn.com. This allows for full expressiveness of the English language. Because there are no such things as bad words, just bad thoughts; bad intentions (George Carlin). And so we can call this album by its rightful name, Fucking Smilers.

Buy It

This album doesn’t suck; in fact it’s pretty fucking good. To me it is a tapestry of Aimee Mann music – the songs are culled from here and there, all about the house. She’s retooled some songs that she had written for motion-picture soundtracks (which had been rejected for not being ‘happy’ enough), put a poem from her sister-in-law to music (she has previously been quoted as saying she ‘hates poetry’), and created some new songs for the album (the ones that don’t fit into the two previous categories). She even went back and got a song she had started writing 17 years ago, and finished it for this album (or so she says) with the melancholy song “31 Today”.

According to interviews I’ve read with Aimee Mann conducted by various internet magazines, she got the idea for the album name from a newsgroup that she used to attend years ago. Any of you who ever used a newsgroup know how fucking hard it was to use; it wasn’t like bulletin boards of the modern-day internet – you had to download and install newsgroup software, and then figure out how to point it at the newsgroup that you wanted to participate in, as I remember it. It was a royal pain in the ass. But out there somewhere Aimee Mann, a smart cookie, was indulging herself in a newsgroup where people complained about the things in life that pissed them off – again according to the interviews she’s done. In one such post, there were complaints about the people in the world who are always telling you to smile; that life isn’t that bad. “Fucking smilers”, they were called.

Little Tornado

“Little Tornado” is my favorite song on the album; it is one of Aimee Mann’s best; a little classic. You are on main street in Loredo, with Dean Martin whistling a tune as he lies on his back in the jail cell, his hat slung over his eyes, and Aimee Mann sings about the little Tornado, the bane of the trailer park. “Make it go faster; baby go faster; make it go twice the speed of you and me.” Great music; great lyrics.

Keyboards and the piano dominate this album, which make it reflective. The drums arrive to drive home the lyrics on some songs. Paul Bryan did a wonderful job on the production, bringing various sounds into the mix, such as that on “Little Tornado”. Bryan produced Aimee Mann’s One More Drifter in the Snow album, which stands in my opinion as the best Christmas album ever made – providing an artful take on Christmas songs, including the sounds of horse hoofs in the snow.

Aimee Mann's Intonations

And then there is on this album, as always, Aimee Mann’s beautiful voice, with pretty intonations; it is impossible for her to sing a song and not make it great, I think.

“Stranger into Starman” is a song that has me envisioning reading the NY Times on a quiet Sunday morning. On “Looking for Nothing” I visualize two older boxers talking in the gym. “Medicine Wheel” is the song which was a poem by Aimee Mann’s sister-in-law Gretchen Seichrist (the word “bitch” seemed foreign to Aimee Mann’s vocabulary when I first heard it). Great song.  

The album ends with “Balantine’s”, a reflective, merry saloon song, sung in a duet with Sean Hayes, who toured with her last year as her opening act and whose solo work is quite good; you should check it out.

In Motherfucking Summary

A collage of well-crafted Aimee Mann songs is Fucking Smilers. It is not my favorite album of hers – that would be the all-time classic Lost in Space – but it is darn good. Damn good. She’s not put a bad album out yet. The artwork is terrific; illustrations by Gary Taxali – Aimee Mann won a Grammy for her artwork on her last CD (The Forgotten Arm) and has been quoted as saying she strongly believes in giving people a totally crafted product; she personally spends a lot of time making sure the artwork is well done. And her last four CD’s – Lost in Space, Forgotten Arm, One More Drifter in the Snow, and Fucking Smilers, have each featured the kind of artwork that you saw on 12” albums in the seventies. Fucking Smilers is well worth adding to your collection. Like any Aimee Mann album, it’s a treat.    

 

 

 

 

 

Aimee Mann's 3rd Annual Christmas Show

Aimee Mann puts on an annual Christmas Show tour -- a variety show in the spirit of Dean Martin or Donny and Marie. Tthe third tour finished in December 2008. Check the Aimee Mann website for tour dates starting in Sept or Oct of each year. The shows sell out so be sure to act early.