18 December 2008
BEST ALBUMS OF 2008: #8
8. Aimee Mann - @#%&*! SMILERS
Apart from some extra keyboards here and a few less guitars there, she hasn't radically changed her sound, much less her subject matter--she's still calling out poseurs ("Freeway") and writing exquisite kiss-offs both cutting ("Medicine Wheel") and wistful ("It's Over"). Rest assured she hasn't settled into too comfortable a groove, as her best album since BACHELOR #2 is chock full of fun stuff like a song about doing a crossword puzzle that clocks in at a succinct minute-and-a-half, or a charmingly shaggy closing duet with Sean Hayes (the musician, not the actor). On "31 Today" she sings, "I thought my life would be better by now" with such immediacy you don't even care that she'll actually turn 50 in two years.
Favorite songs: "Freeway", "It's Over", "31 Today", "Ballantines"