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What happens when you have five producers
on 12 November 2015
Aimee Mann is of course a highly talented songwriter and has a good voice to match, particularly singing in harmonies. There are many of us (slightly older than we wish we were) who still feel young when we get out our Til Tuesday albums. There are some excellent tunes in this album too I freely admit.
Having said that it suffers from three faults - to my ears. First, the tendency she has to write the same few songs over and over again.- if I hear the opening sequence G - B - F one more time I may scream. Second, the lyrics are relentlessly of the clever-clever "you're a bastard, you are, I can tell because I'm rather intelligent" variety - it's soooooo overdone.
Lastly, and I think I have to tentatively point the finger of blame at the cast of thousands playing, singing and producing. it's so utterly overproduced, and yet it sounds awful. As in postmodern lo-fi looped scrappy drum segments.As in Wurlitzers and Chamberlins. As in vibraphones and creepy electric pianos. As in octave guitars and purposely so-distorted-do-you-get-it guitars. As in weird stereo placement and overfussy BVs. As in (can you believe it?) timpani rolls. It's such a mess, and every overdub takes it farther away from being really good. God knows how many virtual tracks and plugins they used. Even Michael Penn's guitar playing can't save it, and I'd walk a million miles to see him playing live with a band. We miss you Michael...
Remember Welcome Home? Four people in the studio, no Pro Tools. Magic. Whatever happened to The Producer? The guy/gal in charge? The one whose job it is to say "errr... no, I don't think that's a good idea." That person was sadly not around.
Well that's my view. Great talent, good songs, disaster in the control room. Still lots of good stuff but almnost all songs rendered unlistenable by stoopid twiddles on this or that instrument "because we can".