the Buzz for June 8th, 2008


what if she was juliet in a mini?

posted at 11:30 pm by brandon in mine's on the 45

All the way back to her stint as the lead singer of the quintessential ’80s band ‘Til Tuesday, I’ve generally been able to take or leave her music — though her 1995 breakthrough “That’s Just What You Are” remains a touchstone (as does her bravura work on 1999’s brilliant Magnolia soundtrack), and I’ve got a twenty dollar bill that says her interpretation of “The Scientist” (from the deluxe edition of her 2004 album Lost in Space) is stronger and more profound than Coldplay’s — but it’s impossible not to admire Aimee Mann‘s incredible moxie and flippant panache. (Or — on a totally shallow note — her cooler-than-cool husband, the woefully underappreciated Michael Penn.)

Singularly unimpressed with the overgrown machinery of the music business’ major label system, Mann struck out on her own in the late ’90s after two acclaimed efforts for Geffen Records stiffed huge. Turned out to be the smartest move Mann ever made: this week brings us @#%&*! Smilers, Mann’s sixth do-it-yourself effort (counting a concert recording and a Christmas album) and the one with arguably the highest profile. No major stylistic shifts here; if you dug her before, you’ll dig her now, and if she annoyed you before, well…. Regardless, there can be no discounting her accomplishments as a true maverick. Way the hell before it was tres chic to do so, Mann was brave enough to blaze a trail that some of the biggest names in the business — Yorke, Amos, Reznor, to name but a few — would end up following her down.