Following Aimee Mann’s Magnolia renaissance, the singer’s musical narratives remain planted firmly in a cinematic soil of heroes and heroin. On “Humpty Dumpty,” the opening track of Mann’s fourth studio album, Lost in Space, the singer laments: “All the perfect drugs and superheroes wouldn’t be enough to bring me up to zero.” Yup, she’s the same old Aimee, pessimistic yet charming, self-deprecating her way through the space of 10 folk-rock gems. She’s delicate and cautionary on “This Is How It Goes” (“It’s all about drugs, it’s all about shame/And whatever they want, don’t tell them your name”) while she talks of strangers, afterthoughts and addiction (figurative and literal) on the string-filled “It’s Not.” Here Mann proudly displays her crystalline upper register; elsewhere, her voice exhibits flashes of Chrissie Hynde’s nasal twang (“Guys Like Me” and “Pavlov’s Bell”). But if Mann’s vocals seem overly-despondent, her crisp guitar rhythms translate both her angst and hope. Recorded by producer-on-the-rise Ryan Freeland, Lost in Space is lush without becoming too glossy and, while it certainly can’t reap the benefits of New Line’s marketing muscle, it should prove to be yet another solemnly happy chapter in Mann’s ever-blossoming career.
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