My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #38

Number 38

Other than a brief step out into the recognition spotlight when she lent a significant set of music to the Paul Thomas Anderson film, Magnolia, (for which the director declared she was the inspiration for the initial first thoughts of that masterful screenplay) Aimee Mann has never received the right amount of acclaim to justify her immense talent. Responsible for the 80’s group ‘Til Tuesday, who had a time on the billboard charts with the hit single, “Voices Carry”, she has been on a long and determined road as a solo singer/songwriter, and with the release of @#%&*! Smilers, it marks her sixth full-length of completely original material as she reaches beyond her fifteenth year. For the many who were turned off by the ambitious concept turn on her last album, The Forgotten Arm, you will be quickly satisfied with her new set of songs, which opens with the extremely accessible pop gem, “Freeway”. There are more than a handful of songs that follow on the record that are much better, but it’s this opener that will inevitably be responsible for introducing new ears to her steadily-growing fan club. There are several singular triumphs on this album, like “Little Tornado” and “Looking For Nothing”, but the shining beacon is clearly the reflective “31 Today”, which should be added among her best single efforts ever. Though not as good as some of her outstanding early material (Bachelor No. 2, or I’m With Stupid) I believe that this is among the best stuff she’s release this decade, and a very solid addition into Mann’s arsenal; not to mention an ideal starting place if you’ve never heard her.

2.Stranger Into Starman
3.Looking For Nothing
5.Borrowing Time
6.It’s Over
7.31 Today
8.The Great Beyond
9.Medicine Wheel
10.Columbus Ave.
11.Little Tornado
12.True Believer


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