Take that, happy people.
Aimee Mann's new album is called "@#%&*! Smilers." For a singer often associated with introspective songs about ne'er-do-wells and second-guessers, this would seem to be a perfect poke in the eye to those who are waiting for her to put out an album of upbeat anthems.
Mann admits that the title has its roots in irritation.
"It was derived from a newsgroup my friend and I used to read ... [in which] people would discuss how bitter they were, which we thought was so funny," she chuckles. "And one of the threads was called 'F----- smilers,' with these people at their wit's end with strangers who would come up to them and tell them to smile."
But, she adds, there's humor -- even optimism -- to be found in frustration. After all, it's a very human experience -- and a bonding one, too. "There's something really nice about hearing people complain about something," says Mann, 47.
Which brings us to "Smilers" (on the former 'Til Tuesday frontwoman's own label, Superego Records), and its songs about ... well, ne'er-do-wells and second-guessers, people who have fallen down the ladder and are trying to climb back up.
Yes, the subject matter can be downbeat. Yes, nobody's going to raise their fist in triumph while humming along with "Columbus Avenue," a tale of failed ambition played out on the San Francisco street, or even "Ballantines," a ragtime-y ode to "seeing the same old crowd pass you by in the street," which features Grant Lee Phillips approximating a horn.
But, Mann says, there's hope to be found in such stories.
ETA: Here's video of Aimee doing an in-store at Amoeba (won't embed).
Also, Video tape yourself singing Aimee Mann’s new song “Freeway” and win an autographed copy of her new CD!
Thanks to ukexseme for the links!