Quintessential Album Series :: Bachelor No. 2 (2000) :: Aimee Mann
A Little History:
The third studio album from Aimee Mann, Bachelor No. 2 was released in 2000 under the full title of Bachelor No. 2 or, the Last Remains of the Dodo. The album is notable because it Aimee sold the album through her website because initially she was without a record company/label support. The album went on to gain a worldwide release and achieve respectable sales, aided by the success of the Magnolia soundtrack, which shares material from Bachelor No. 2.
The first release was a limited-run 7-song preview EP which was sold at concerts and via her website.
The full album was slated for a release through Interscope, but they did not think the material had commercial appeal. Mann purchased back the rights and began selling the album online. It was one of the first albums to be successful with only online sales, eventually selling 25,000 copies from Mann’s website.
After attracting attention, a distribution deal to traditional retail channels led to sales topping 200,000.
The Japanese version of the album contains bonus material, the European version has a different track listing and slightly different material.
The album was remastered and released in 2004 by the audiophile record label Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL) as a hybrid stereo SACD and as an LP on 180-gram virgin vinyl.
What Makes This “Quintessential” to me?
I have a long-standing love relationship with Aimee Mann’s music. Ever since her work with ‘Til Tuesday, through labels and independent web releases, holiday shows and movie soundtracks, I’ve been there, loving her songs. There is something so genuine, so melodic and catchy, and lyrically smart and emotional, that I relate and embrace. Her music is literate to me, personal and poetic, but more than that, each song feels like a story, a confession, and revelation. Each album works that way for me, too, some of them “reading” like a collection of short stories.
Bachelor No. 2 feels like a break-up and the recovery process that follows. The endings that are hard to maneuver through, the ones we get stuck in, even when we want not to be. There is complex emotions at work here, regret, longing, wistful wanting, love, and loss. There is strength and there is vulnerability, and so many stories that run the gamut of both, volleying between wanting to love and wanting to be free.
This album reminds me of a particular time in my life when I listened to it a lot, and when my emotions and life were volleying between wants and wishes. I took risks for love the year this album came out/the year this album was in my life, and later, years later, when that same love’s bottom fell out, it was still there for me. On both sides of love, and in-between, it seemed to get me.
It was more then just a love story/break-up companion though. This album, and Aimee’s music, would connect me to friends in that way that only music does. Red Vines and Driving Sideways would spark conversations that would lead into other, bigger conversations that would lead into friendships that withstand time and distance, and other love stories/break-ups. I would play Ghost World, while dressing up as Enid from the comic/movie of the same name, one Halloween with good friends at my side, wearing thrift store glasses that looked the part, but had such a strong prescription that I’d end up with a two-day headache.
Deathly would stand-out and stick the longest, those opening lines hitting hard and deep, still haunting me today.
The album, as a whole, is loaded with meaning and memory, and still emotionally moves me just as much as the first times I played it.
My Top 5 Songs:
“Now that I’ve met you,
would you object to,
never seeing each other again.”
2. Red Vines
“Are cigarettes and Red Vines,
just close your eyes,
’cause, baby –
you never do know.”
3. You Do
“You write a little note that,
you leave on the bed,
and spend some time dissecting
every word he said.
And if he seemed a little strange,
well, baby, anyone can change –
and you do.”
4. Just Like Anyone
“And I will wonder.”
5. Driving Sideways
“And your companion,
will not help you to navigate –
for fear she may be wrong.”