CD Whatever [Aimee Mann] (CD 889395),
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Whatever [Aimee Mann]
1. I Should've Known
2. Fifty Years After the Fair
3. 4th of July
4. Could've Been Anyone
5. Put Me on Top
6. Stupid Thing
7. Say Anything
8. Jacob Marley's Chain
9. Mr. Harris
10. I Could Hurt You Now
11. I Know There's a Word
12. I've Had It
13. Way Back When
14. (Untitled) - (hidden track)
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 24956
Personnel: Aimee Mann (vocals, guitar, bass, organ, percussion); Roger McGuinn (vocals, guitar); Jon Brion (various instruments); Buddy Judge (acoustic guitar, pipes, background vocals); Todd Nelson (guitar); David Coleman (electric cello); Mike Breaux (oboe, bassoon); Randy Brion (euphonium, trombone); Michael Hausman (drums, congas, percussion); Jim Keltner, Milt Sutton (drums).
The Sid Sharp Strings: Jimmie Haskell (conductor); Sidney Sharp, Joy Lyle, Harry Shirinian, Harry L. Shultz.
Producers: Jon Brion, Tony Berg, Aimee Mann, Michael Hausman.
Engineers include: Mark McKenna, Richard Benoit, Ray Blair.
Originally slated for release in 1992 on the Imago label, Aimee Mann's solo debut remained caught in contractual limbo until a year later. Already a 10-year veteran with a music-industry Purple Heart (see Til Tuesday), Mann used her brainy, pointed songcraft to hit new heights on WHATEVER, while also articulating more mature levels of disillusionment and disappointment.
Featuring classy production by Jon Brion, WHATEVER begins with "I Should've Known," a Lennon/McCartney-esque tune of romantic betrayal that became a minor hit months before the record's release via its inclusion on TV's MELROSE PLACE. On other tracks, Mann expresses the desire for success ("Put Me on Top"), sepia-tinged nostalgia ("Fifty Years After the Fair," with Roger McGuinn), and an affair with a much older man ("Mr. Harris"). The highlight of the album, however, is the gorgeously refined "4th of July," which stands as one of her loveliest compositions. Fans of Mann's previous work will be impressed with her ever-advancing lyrical skills, and any doubtful '80s pop aficionados who ever considered her a "one-hit wonder" will find their new heroine right here.
Rolling Stone (8/5/93, p.68) - 3 Stars - Good - "...Mann marries her tales of betrayal and disappointment with vibrant music....WHATEVER truly flies..."
Spin (6/93, p.18) - Recommended - "...Melodically a sorceress, lyrically an emotional train wreck, this spooky-looking singer sheds her 'Til Tuesday moniker and steps out with a fresh batch of botched relationships to chew over....Gorgeous guitar pop unsullied by trends or technology..."
Entertainment Weekly (5/28/93, p.56) - "...here it is, replete with hooky songs, engaging folk-rock arrangements, and evocative lyrics: 13 tunes that stick to your ribs..." - Rating: A
Q (1/94, p.83) - Included in Q's list of 'The 50 Best Albums Of 1993.'
Q (9/93, p.86) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...Aimee Mann has much to sing about and the perfect voice to sing it in...Roger McGuinn helps out, conjuring up perfect licks for Mann's intelligent, emotional, and singable songs..."
Alternative Press (5/01, p.104) - Included in AP's "10 Essential Breakup Albums" - "...Catchy and yet full of festering anger, the songs consistently reveal a rare inner-toughness..."
Village Voice (3/1/94) - Ranked #33 in the Village Voice's 1993 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
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