Aimee Mann Is So Fucking Hot

Aimee Mann on Bass

Aimee Mann on Bass

The Neptune, Seattle, 10/3/12 – Can I just get the least interesting part of this post out-of-the-way?  Aimee Mann is so fucking hot.  A tall blonde in glasses who can play guitar, wears cool clothes and is quick to crack a joke?  And she’s originally from the Boston area, so that helps.  I have to admit that some part of my being drawn to her is her picture-esque-ness.  She’s just so damn hot.

Ok, with that out-of-the-way, we can get down to business, the music business.  What drew me to Aimee Mann originally was the amazing movie that holds a spot in my top 5 of all time – Magnolia, by the amazing Paul Thomas Anderson.  The Master – in theaters now!  As the story goes, PT had heard songs that Aimee was developing for her 3rd album – Bachelor #2 – and loved them so much, that the characters she was drawing were very similar to those he was imagining for his movie that he opted to 9 songs for his movie and its soundtrack.  So ingrained the songs were in the movie that at one point the characters sing the song “Wake Up” in a scene, in a little musical montage.  It’s just one of the clever little twists PT did in the movie that make it unique and forever tie Aimee Mann to Magnolia.

The characters that PT and Aimee were fleshing out at the time are characters that Aimee tends to write about – folks on the fringe of our society, down and out but tending to find that spark that keeps them moving forward.  The most obvious example of this is her “concept album” – “The Forgotten Arm” from 2008 that weaves its songs around the story of a boxer and his struggles through a waning sport, relationships, drug problems.  These are the gritty realities that Aimee writes about and finds interest in.  From her “Till Tuesday” days with “Voices Carry”, her characters would not do the expected or fall in line, they would fight.

For someone who tends towards the harder edge, I do find it challenging at times to warm right up to a new Aimee Mann record, her sound is more on the pop blues end of things and at first listen seems not to have any real edge to it.  But when you listen to an album like “Lost in Space” – her best album IMHO, you hear those gut wrenching stories set to the weepy guitar and Aimee’s elegant voice and you can’t help but be drawn in.  I’m probably giving her more of a chance with each record than I would a similar artist given how hard I fell for her when Magnolia came out.

Her latest record “Charmer” is not her bestAimee Mann Neptune Marquee record, but definitely has a few tracks of greatness like “Barfly” or “Living a Lie” featuring James Mercer of the Shins.  I wasn’t too worried about that going into the show at the Neptune, any Aimee Mann show is going to be a good one, and this one was, but it was a little sad too.  It was very sparsely attended.  I had high hopes for this show to return Aimee to form for me seeing her live, and this show did that for me.  The show before this one was when I saw her at the Woodland Park Zoo a few years ago.  That was a calamitous show.  Don’t get me started.  This show was definitely better, but didn’t get her all the way back to the amazing Brooklyn gig from the “Lost In Space” tour.  Those shows were collected in an excellent CD/DVD set “Live at St. Ann’s Warehouse” that is always a great view and listen.

Aimee Mann @ the NeptuneAimee travels with this great set of musicians, but all the personality from the show comes from her.  One of the great moments of the show was when John Roderick, the lead singer from the Long Winters, joined her on stage to take the place of James Mercer on the formerly mentioned duet.  There was a bit of comedy as John struggled with his mike stand.

The set featured quite a few visits to the new record and a few visits to the past, like Humpty Dumpty, which was one of my favorite tracks.  Her and her band sounded great, the musicality and the skill never in question.

I’ll never give up on Aimee Mann, just as she never gives up on her characters, I just hope that more people over time discover how great Aimee is and that her great live shows are experienced by more and more people.

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