Whatever :: Aimee Mann :: Album Reviews

This is the first, and most played, Aimee Mann Album I have ever owned. It’s one of those Albums that’s followed along with me, and been a soundtrack to my life, during so many chapters and incarnations. The songs have traded off being my favorites, my most relevant, and sometimes my most painful, throughout the years. I’ve listened to this Album on two cross-country moves, three break-ups, and while writing a few chapters of a novel I will (hopefully) someday finish.

I’ve been lucky to see Aimee Mann play live three times, and two of those three she sang a few of my favorites off this album. The most memorable was the acoustic set she performed for the show I caught in Chicago a few years back. She sang stripped down versions of both “Fourth of July” (my favorite off of this Album) and”I’ve Had It”.

“Fourth of July” reminds me of past relationships that collapsed in on themselves, and the regrets and bittersweet memories that linger afterwards; like the cloying smell and smoke that stick around after fireworks are set-off on Independence Day. There’s this sense of freedom that explodes when we finally leave something broken, but there are pieces of things, of feelings, and photographs that stay, trapped beneath our skin. Just like shrapnel after a war, they still sting years later.

“I’ve had It” is one of those songs that are still painful to hear, and may always be. There are too many images that play like a slideshow on the inside of each of my eyelids. They come to live, and flicker away, when I close my eyes and listen. It isn’t the story being sung exactly. I don’t have a band break-up to recall from my past. But, I’ve had break-ups that were bigger than a one-on-one relationship. The kind that costs you a community of friends, or a place that feels like home. As you walk away it’s a different sort of moving on, with bigger things you will have to try to remember, or learn to forget. I think everyone experiences a loss like that at least once in their lives – their own version of a band breaking-up, of the end of an era.

The opening song, “I Should’ve Known” reminds me of the mid-90’s and the re-defining times that I found myself in back then. It reminds me of a patchwork dress I used to wear over crushed velvet tights, the taste of Marlboro lights, and the way the salty sea air felt in the wee hours of night. Or would it have been morning then? Back when we’d sit by the shore just past Newport Beach, the world seeming timeless, and never-ending. I made a series of mistakes back then, and just as many successes, I’d like to think.

I wonder what new memories this Album will join in on, and what I’d write about the Album a year from now, or two, or ten?

“Fourth of July”

“I’ve Had It”

“I Should’ve Known”

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