Aimee Mann will release her fifth proper solo album, the Forgotten Arm, on May 3rd and I will pick it up on that day. As music writers (journalists, bloggers, etc.) prepare for its release, a lot of them refer to Mann's previous album, Lost in Space, as a disapointment. Well my friends, Lost in Space is not a letdown, a bummer and definitely not a disapointment.
Some history between me and Mann's music: Magnolia and Bachelor No. 2 were my introductions to her solo material and I quickly fell in love with her spare arrangements of melodically rich songs. Her lyrics speak volumes, even though they appear vague and personal. A side note of twisted humor, I loved how the big label she recorded Bachelor No. 2 for thought it was not radio-friendly and chose not to release it. Given the album's exposure through the Magnolia soundtrack and the publicity of the album's delayed release (and oh yeah, really amazing songs), Mann had the last laugh. Releasing her stuff on her own label, SuperEgo, that's where she remains today. And all those big labels that thought it was downloading hurting their sales . . .
When her Bachelor No. 2 follow-up, Lost in Space, was released, I found one online review before the album's release date. The review was vague; I couldn't tell if it was positive or negative or anything of the sort. Regardless of the review, I picked up Lost in Space. I really dug Lost in Space but like my experience with Bachelor No. 2, the more I listened to it, the more I enjoyed it. (Side note: there was never a time where I didn't like the albums, I just kept listening because I liked what I heard on my first few spins) Some of my favorites include "Invisible Ink," "Lost in Space" and "This is How It Goes," but overall, the album is very strong.
So, how is Lost in Space a disappointing album for a lot of people? Are its lyrics not as "angry" as Bachelor's? The lyrics ring close to home for me, much like how Bachelor's do, but they're not as vitriolic. The songs are as plush as Bachelor, but Bachelor's Jon Brion didn't produce Lost in Space. Brion is a masterful producer with a midas touch, but then again, the artists that he works with are already gifted. Mann's songs are incredibly strong, no matter which producer she works with.
In short, check out Lost in Space and don't believe the non-hype.