Album review: AIMEE MANN – Mental Illness

AIMEE MANN - Mental Illness

SuperEgo/Membran [Release date 31.03.17]

Not exactly an uplifting title for an album?  But then Aimee Mann’s never exactly been what you might call a happy singer, or a “heaven is a place on earth” composer.  No, Aimee was born looking at life though the other end of the telescope.

After the more pop orientated Charmer (2012), Mental Illness finds Mann back to her acoustic, observational, and depressing best.  Deliberately stripped back, and downbeat, support is limited to acoustic guitars, piano, harmonium, a string quartet and an unobtrusive and barely used rhythm section.  It’s what suits Mann best and lyrical content aside – songs of bi-polarity, sociopaths, and the just plain crazy – Mental Illness is a very beautiful record.

Despite indulging her bleaker side, and setting out to write the saddest, slowest, most acoustic record she could, Mental Illness is musically inspired by the ‘easy listening’ sounds of the ’70′s, the sparse arrangements supplemented by vocal ‘ooh’s’ aplenty.  Sonically, it’s irresistible.

One smart cookie, Mann’s wicked sense of humour is laced through the songs that make up Mental Illness which, despite their melancholic lyrical content, are indelibly catchy and must be regarded as one of her most consistent (and perhaps best) piece of work to date.  *****

Review by Pete Whalley

The Best of 2017


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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In this show, first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 2 February 2020, David Randall plays a selection of tracks from some of the artists who impressed at this year’s Giants Of Rock event in Minehead (24-27 January).

Featured Albums w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 NEWMAN Ignition (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 BLACK SWAN Shake The World (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 CORMAC O CAOIMH Swim Crawl Walk Run (indie)

Power Plays w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)

SHAKRA Turn The Light On (AFM Records)
THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Transmissions (Nuclear Blast)
RYDERS CREED Lost Soul (Off Yer Rocka Recordings)
FRAMING HANLEY Puzzle Pieces (Thermal Entertainment LLC)
ROBERT HART Mysterious (Escape Music)



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