Lost in Space
Taking control of her own destiny turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to Aimee Mann.
The former 'Til Tuesday singer not only scored critical acclaim for her self-released 2000 album Bachelor No. 2, but she also simultaneously was nominated for an Oscar, three Grammys, and a Golden Globe for her contributions to the film Magnolia. Everything's been spinning in the right direction for her ever since.
But you might not always sense that from listening to her second album on her own imprint, SuperEgo.
Lost in Space is a pretty dark affair, loaded with tales of addictions and obsessions and filled with the self-analytical brand of wordplay that's been the songwriter's calling card.
“All the perfect drugs and superheroes wouldn't be enough to bring me up to zero,” she sings in the somber but engaging, slide-tinged lead single “Humpty Dumpty,” setting the tone for much of the disc.
Soft melodies filter throughout, though nowhere near as enticing as those she traced on earlier solo offerings, like 1993's Whatever or 1995's I'm With Stupid. This time out Mann is down 'n' out in a truly depressing, Janis Ian sort of way, and the dreary tones of cuts like “Real Bad News” and “Guys Like Me” do little to lift the set off the ground.
Other than “Humpty Dumpty” the album is short on essential cuts, though the heroin-fueled “High on Sunday 51” and the string-graced “Invisible Ink” definitely stand out.
There's a lot to like about Aimee Mann's fiercely independent streak and the success she's had in flipping off the major labels. But beyond the business, it's still the music that matters most, and this album falls short of the very high standards she's set for herself in the past.