23 June 2008

You got a lot of money, but you can't afford the freeway The road to Orange County leaves an awful lot of leeway….

I was torn this morning on whether to write about Jill Sobule and her awesome tunes from the 2004 film “Mind The Gap” (in which she also starred) by writer/producer/director and very talented guy Eric Schaeffer, or to write about Aimee Mann’s latest, @#%&*! Smilers. It was a tough call since I was feeling haunted by the film that Abby and I watched Saturday on a rare night off in the last two weeks, but yet wanting to write about a newer release. Hmmm….two amazing songwriters….two sets of songs that are no doubt worth every moment spent listening to, one tired mind, and one blog.

So after a quick shower to wash away yesterdays near 12 hour day that included a co-worker who opted to be the first to criticize and boss people around yet the last to actually DO their job (a pattern I’ve noticed with this person) I opted to pop in Aimee Mann just a little bit ago and am having my first listen. Sometimes I prefer doing this so that I may write about my first impressions as opposed to something I may have over-listened to. In the interest of full disclosure I think Aimee Mann is a goddess. I’ve even had the pleasure of meeting her - she was so very nice and so humble despite her ginourmous talent that I felt like I was talking to a human being and not someone who was so caught up in who they were that you felt as if you were speaking to an empty shell. She’s the real deal. So right off the bat you know this will not be a negative review – no matter how hard I try I can’t find anything wrong with her. She could clap off beat and I’d still think she were the best thing to come around since the ipod.

OK – I’m on song 11 of 16 (if you download from itunes) – “Little Tornado” – so sweet - so simple I had to rewind:

Little tornado
Bane of the trailer park
Lifting houses to leave your mark

Little tornado
Noah can build his ark
But he will never disembark

Make it go faster
Baby go faster
Make it go twice the speed of you and me

Little tornado
You and the hurricane
Close your eyes and go campaign

Make it go faster
Baby go faster
Make it go twice the speed of you and me

Oh, no, no we don't
No we don't know

Little tornado blew out the window pane
Left the inside to the rain

(courtesy of metrolyrics.com)

Aside from the more bare bones production this song has this western feel to it – not country – but a guitar, a bass drum and some whistling. You could be on the plains of Nebraska next to a fire with a horse and a cowboy and you get what this song sounds like. Urgency with delicacy. Simplicity with meaning.

Now that I’m on “True Believer”, song 12 of the CD, which starts off with a bang with today’s title “Freeway”, it seems to get sweeter and sweeter as it progresses. Yeah – this is the best of Aimee Mann. Insightful, deep, and with a voice that hasn’t changed since her ‘Til Tuesday days whence time she sang about being a bi-sexual woman in a relationship with a man who was embarrassed by that fact (“Voices Carry” in case you weren’t paying attention from 1985) and of course who could forget “J for Jules” one of my all time favourites (said to be inspired by then boyfriend Jules Shear – also a talented songwriter). Who would have thought back then that this punk-ish new wave girl from Virginia (she went to Berklee in Boston where she met her ‘Til Tuesday band mates) would still be not only making music - but making GREAT music all these years later. Seriously. It doesn’t get much better than her and this CD is a tribute to her talent, her independence as songwriter and lyricist and her staying power. There isn’t a song on this CD that I wouldn’t want to hear again and again. OK - enough gushing….just check it out at: www.myspace.com/aimeemann

Yeah – I’m fried. Really. Two weeks – one broken toe - one day off and the aforementioned co-worker and their many foibles not the least of which is an undeserving ego – and you can understand where my head is right now: relieved to have what I hope to be only a few days off. I love my work and I love the people I just worked for and sometimes that’s the stuff that makes it all worth while. When you can like your bosses, want to work hard for them and respect them it can make all the difference in the world to help wash away the normal and expected headaches that come from human beings interacting under stress. Despite being tired and a little sluggish today I had a good time these last couple of weeks and I was really glad to be where I was. Now I’m glad to be home and while I can’t afford to drive the freeway right now – I can enjoy my life and the gifts that go with being surrounded by good people.

Thanks for tuning in…Until next time…..go rent “Mind The Gap” and CHEERS!!!

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