Charmer

Beatlesque harmonies, Costello-esque bile, really bad romance: Yep, it's an Aimee Mann album. Mann's lyrics strain for cleverness, sagging under the weight of mixed metaphors. ("When you're weak, it's a Holy Grail/You're two-for-one, it's a fire sale.") Her way with a tune pulls her through in "Living a Lie," a duet with the Shins' James Mercer; the New Wave synths add some sonic color. But there's little new here, and even less charm.

Listen to "Charmer":

From The Archives Issue 1167: October 11, 2012