Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
Former ‘Til Tuesday singer/bassist/songwriter Aimee Mann released her first solo album, Whatever, in 1993 on independent label Imago. Had a major label been behind it perhaps it would have found a much bigger audience, which it rightly deserved. Other than the moderate success of “I Should Have Known” on US alternative radio, the album was sadly overlooked. I loved it from start to finish the first time I played it, and that love hasn’t diminished more than a quarter century later. See below for my thoughts on this record which were included in the third part of my Great Out Of The Gate series, followed by three catchy songs that will hopefully inspire you to check out the whole album.
For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.
From GREAT OUT OF THE GATE Part 3:
I didn’t know much about ‘80s band ‘Til Tuesday beyond their 1985 Top 10 hit, “Voices Carry,” when a friend at the recently-formed Imago Records sent me a pre-release copy of the debut album by their lead singer, Aimee Mann. I fell in love with it on first listen, and it’s only grown in stature over the years. Her biggest success would come a few years later with the Magnolia soundtrack and an Academy Award-nominated song, as well as a handful of critically acclaimed solo albums filled with mostly slow, melancholy tunes, but Whatever finds a much more adventurous & playful artist at work. Powerful slower songs like “4th Of July,” “Jacob Marley’s Chain” and “Stupid Thing” are offset by the bouncy melodicism of “I Should Have Known,” “Fifty Years After The Fair,” “Put Me On Top” and “Could’ve Been Anyone.” Co-produced by Tony Berg, Jon Brion and her ‘Til Tuesday bandmate Michael Hausman (the latter two contributing much of the musical accompaniment), this album never stumbles across its 14 songs and 52 minute running time. Other artists might have padded out their debut album with subpar songs, but clearly Aimee Mann had a lot to prove here and she delivered a beauty that deserved a wider audience.
I’ve often wondered what fans of ‘Til Tuesday thought of Whatever when it was released, five years after that band broke up. I had no expectations and it was love at first listen. If you’re already an Aimee Mann fan, how does this album stack up to the rest of her discography? What do the Aimee Mann newbies think of the songs I’ve included above? I look forward to hearing from you.