Nearly twenty years into her solo career, Aimee Mann draws on what she calls the "super pop" of the 70's and 80's for her aptly titled eighth album Charmer (September 18, Superego). As is the case with just about all of Mann's distinctive songwriting, there's a darker meaning lurking in the shadows and Charmer, for all of it's sunny and deliciously melodious attributes, exposes some sharp teeth behind that winning smile. “I’m fascinated by charming people," says Mann. "Is someone’s charm being utilized just to try and entertain people, make them feel special and interesting, or is there a more sinister purpose behind it?" That special cynicism, voiced by a singer whose cool, languid melancholy and husky alto define her performances, gives her songcraft an emphasis on the bitter as well as the sweet. Even when the mood seems light and breezy, as choruses sooth amidst a jangled strum of new wave-y pop, tender-hooked songs like "Disappeared", über-hummable title track and "Living A Lie" (with the Shin's James Mercer) pull you along amiably but you also can't help but feel like you're being tugged into something deeper, darker and thornier. And a lot more intriguing.
Aimee Mann - "Labrador" (from Charmer)
Aimee Mann - "Living A Lie" (featuring James Mercer) (from Charmer)