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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb songsmith strikes gold again
Another excellent album from Aimee, and possibly her best since the almost faultless Bachelor No.2, with a little more richness than Lost In Space and a slightly stronger set of songs than The Forgotten Arm.

She has a style and sound of her own, and that's no bad thing - she sticks to what she does best, and doesn't do anything too experimental, although there...
Published on 3 Jun 2008 by P. J. Tomkins

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lots of the same
I was disappointed with this album. I loved her songs in Magnolia's soundtrack but those in Smilers were rather dreary and all much the same. I wanted to like them but I don't, really.
Published 5 months ago by Chris


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb songsmith strikes gold again, 3 Jun 2008
By 
P. J. Tomkins - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: @#%&*! Smilers (Audio CD)
Another excellent album from Aimee, and possibly her best since the almost faultless Bachelor No.2, with a little more richness than Lost In Space and a slightly stronger set of songs than The Forgotten Arm.

She has a style and sound of her own, and that's no bad thing - she sticks to what she does best, and doesn't do anything too experimental, although there are different flourishes to the production on each album, such as the bustling brass on Borrowing Time.

But ultimately it's the timeless quality of special melodies combined with intelligent, story-telling lyrics that make her music so rich and rewarding. Hard to pick out any favourites as it works exceptionally well as an album with no filler, although It's Over, Pheonix and True Believer are up there with the best songs she has written.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars quietly confident, 18 Jun 2008
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This review is from: @#%&*! Smilers (Audio CD)
Aimee Mann is one of those artists who quietly produces songs of real quality without really troubling the press or being lauded as the next so-and-so. Even providing the soundtrack for P T Anderson's mammoth movie Magnolia wasn't enough to make her more widely known over in the UK. Even I, who had enjoyed her work, had let her fall off my radar recently, only to find that her latest is another well crafted collection of West Coast melancholia; it's title, with deleted expletive, should make it clear how she feels about those with a sunny disposition (and I'm guessing there's a fair few of those in LA).

The album opens with the familiar sounding Freeway, containing everything you might expect; male backing, a catchy tune and chorus, which makes the next track, Stranger into Starman, a bit of a shock. Just piano and her voice sounding better than ever before a simple arrangement fleshes out this tiny track. Lovely. Mann's voice for those that haven't heard it is like a combination of Karen Carpenter and Chrissie Hynde, deep and rich and surprisingly sweet given the bitter tang to some of her lyrics. A song like Phoenix is a good example, with its lovely string accompaniment even whilst she sings about leaving her lover, telling us 'I know love doesn't change a thing'. 31 Today is another track typical of her outlook ' I thought my life would be different somehow/I thought my life would be better by now/But it's not, and I don't know where to turn'.

It's Over is the album's big number, with a far more optimistic outlook, encouragement to make the most of life, ' cos everything's beautiful, every day's a holiday'. There are some clear musical influences; Borrowing Time, as another reviewer has pointed out, has clear echoes of Iggy Pop's Passenger, Little Tornado is very Simon and Garfunkel and True Believer is imbued with the spirit of Elliot Smith. All in all it makes for very pleasant listening but I'm not sure that this album is going to get her any closer to being a household name on this side of the pond.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nobody does it better....., 4 Jun 2008
By 
This review is from: @#%&*! Smilers (Audio CD)
This is another piece of art for your ears from Aimee. A very rich sound (without using electric guitars) for this album with a live feel to the recording. The whole album is outstanding, the songs complimenting and reflecting on one another.

If you liked any of her past works you should definately pick this up, it's another of those albums where you wish you could just travel along with the protagonists of her songs. Nobody else making music is so interesting or does it so interestingly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Album, 2 July 2008
By 
M. Ralphson "Matt51" (Co Down, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: @#%&*! Smilers (Audio CD)
This is truly a must have album for any lover of well written music. Unlike previous albums, there is no theme running through this one which really makes each song carry more clout than individual extracts from albums like lost in space did.

Every song is superbly written as Mann boosts a vocabulary other song writers could only dream of. You know you're listening to a great songstress when you hear 'phoenix' rhymed with 'kleenex' and you don't cringe.

Every song is great in its own unique way though my highlights of the album would be 'Freeway' - the strongest start to an album i've heard for a long time, 31 Today - whose chorus you will seem to know instantly and be singing along with after the first verse, and Borrowing Time - which is just quirky enough to be a true classic.

The album also comes with a beautifully illustrated (in the style of old fashioned, pop-eye like,cartoons,) lyric book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something to cheer up any lover of great music, 23 Nov 2008
By 
A. Sweeney "I don't care what you call me" (Brighton, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: @#%&*! Smilers (Audio CD)
The title of the album, which is pronounced using the 'f-word' in place of the range of symbols, is a reference to the title of a thread on internet newsgroup "alt.bitter" Aimee read a couple of decades ago where the author complained about the people who would approach him at work when he was in a bad mood and try to cheer him up. It really is quite an apt title for an album full of slightly world-weary but cheery cynicism all held together by Mann's rich, beautiful vocals and some incredibly good music.

I suppose I have to mention the fact that, on first listen, I was slightly under-awed. Many of the songs seemed to blur into each other and I felt a little disappointed, but - after quite a few plays - that feeling soon dissipated and all of the individual songs revealed themselves in their full glory. Of course, the most immediately striking thing about this particular album is that it was recorded without the use of electric guitars so, although the mood and style of the album may not be a huge departure from what fans have come to expect from Aimee, the execution and texture of the recording take a little adjusting to. It's subtle, but noticeable. Some of the material, notably the catchy opener 'Freeway' and the excellent 'Thirty One Today' have a pop feel reminiscent of Rilo Kiley's most recent album, 'Under The Blacklight', only arguably better.

One of my real favourites on this album is 'It's Over', a piano-led waltz full of expressive strings, as is the gorgeous 'Phoenix', a melancholy tale of leaving someone who didn't value her, again featuring piano and strings. Another highlight is the exceptional 'Medicine Wheel', the story of a destructive relationship which has a great, understated, brass section and rather lovely electric piano solo. I could, in fact, go on to name and enthuse about many other great tracks on this album ('Columbus Ave' and the Grant Lee Phillips co-written 'True Believer', especially), but I will instead just say that this a genuinely wonderful album and is up there with Aimee's very best work. Brilliant, beautiful stuff and highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab Album, 18 Oct 2008
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This review is from: @#%&*! Smilers (Audio CD)
I love Aimee Mann. Ever since I first heard her music through Magnolia, I have searched and faithfully follow her music ever since. I also had the opportunity to listen to her live 3 years ago and going to go again this Thursday (hoorah!).

If you are a fan of Aimee's music then I am sure you won't be disappointed. Her stuff - just like the others, grows on you more and more. Everytime you listen, there's always one track which stands out and after a while another. You just don't get bored of them.

Her music are haunting and beautiful with deep (and albeit slightly twisted)lyrics. There's more usage of definite beat and drum motion. The last track in the album was upbeat and jazzy and in fact a duet. It is quite different.

Most of the songs in the album are still melancholic but with a touch of a country-folk style (and not country-Western more like New Orleans style) interweave in between most of the songs. However, listening to them, you know it's Aimee's work.

I still find Batchelor No 2 my favourite of her lot. However, this is not disappointing and a must for Aimee fan. Recommended. Love it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Best Ever, 28 Sep 2011
This review is from: @#%&*! Smilers (Audio CD)
This is without doubt the finest album in Aimee Manns excellent catalogue. Since the release of her solo debut 'Whatever', each album has got stronger. Aimee Mann has a knack of writing melodic, hooky, rock tunes that grow on you with each hearing. The variety on this album is superb from melodic rock such as Freeway and 31 Today, wonderful soulful ballads such as True Believer and Stranger into Starman (wish it was longer) and quirky jaunty rhythmnic songs such as Ballantines. There is no filler on this album whatsoever and any fan of well crafted and intelligent music will enjoy it. Smilers represents a peak in Aimee Manns career.
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5.0 out of 5 stars aimee, 19 April 2014
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This review is from: @#%&*! Smilers (Audio CD)
wil you marry me - - & folks if you like this try 10,000 maniacs & natalie merchant too... she even sang about jack karoack - must be good
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5.0 out of 5 stars A String of Standout Hits!, 10 Oct 2012
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This review is from: @#%&*! Smilers (Audio CD)
Smilers is my favourite Aimee Mann album because it is the one album where I cannot fault a single track in the slightest. Each song is perfectly crafted and has its own subtly unique aspects that stand out from each other. For most of the tracks, Aimee has put the electric guitar aside for piano and acoustic arrangements.

The tracks are also well placed. The opening Freeway contrast strongly with the piano-led Stranger Into Starman, in fact the only time the album becomes consistent is from Medicine Wheel to Little Tornado, but those tracks themselves are by no means weak.

True Believer is a stellar track, probably the best on the album along with the poppy 31 Today and the string-infused beauty of It's Over, although it is Aimee's voice and not her the strings that catapult this track up with Aimee's best works.

In addition to spectacular album we also get some great cartoony illustrations in the songbook that make buying the physical copy a real treat. The illustrations also capture the style of the album perfectly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Guinness in the afternoon, 21 Sep 2008
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This review is from: @#%&*! Smilers (Audio CD)
This for me is Aimee Mann's best album along with "Lost in Space" and "Whatever" with cleverly coloured productions that really show off her voice. I love the dark subject matter combined with the melodic accessibility of the tunes.

`31 Today' is a mid-tempo Mann classic and my favourite track, plunging the depths of "drinking Guinness in the afternoon/taking shelter in the black cocoon", her voice used to best effect here seems to get deeper with every album. 'Looking for Nothing' and 'It's Over' are other highlights.

Witty one-liners are plentiful here, as on 'Phoenix' ("You love me like a dollar bill/You roll me up and trade me in") and on the Tom Petty-esque radio-friendly 'Freeway' ("You got a lot of money but you can't afford the freeway").

Music to wallow in glorious self-deprecation to. And she's quite right, @#%&*! Smilers!
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@#%&*! Smilers
@#%&*! Smilers by Aimee Mann (Audio CD - 2008)
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