Aimee Mann, '@#%&! Smilers' (Superego)

8
@#%&! Smilers
Critical Mass
Label: Superego

by Barry Walters

Midway through another nuanced collection of mid-tempo '70s-pop-referencing tunes that document the lives of folks who manage only fleeting moments of happiness between protracted stretches of frustration, this L.A.- based veteran songwriter runs head-on into what she typically approaches sideways. "I thought my life would be better by now," she sighs over an anxious keyboard riff in "Thirty One Today," a song about getting older (but no wiser) that's so simple and catchy and scarily true that it opens an ordinarily shut door into Mann's dimly lit, astutely rendered world.

More on SPIN.com

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