Though she grew up on the East Coast, singer, songwriter, guitarist and transplant Aimee Mann long ago earned her place as the poet laureate of a certain brand of Los Angeles ennui.
Her most famous song, “Save Me,” after all — from the film “Magnolia” — opens with the line, “You look like the perfect fit for a girl in need of a tourniquet.” Mann’s last album, “Charmer” (2012), featured a song called “Crazytown,” which she described as a place “where craziness gets handed down/ Who? whoever’s gonna volunteer/ Will only end up living here.”
On Tuesday, Mann announced her ninth studio album, and its title portends further darkness. Called “Mental Illness,” it features 11 songs on which the artist plumbs the depths, and will arrive on March 31 on Mann’s own SuperEgo imprint. As a teaser, she released the album’s first song, “Goose Snow Cone.”
But those wondering on the artist’s mental health can relax. Mann, whose wry lyrical wit is evident across her acclaimed catalog, devoted herself to writing grim weepers as a reaction to those who think she writes only depressing songs, she wrote in announcing the record.
“So if they thought that my songs were very down-tempo, very depressing, very sad, and very acoustic, I thought I’d just give myself permission to write the saddest, slowest, most acoustic, if-they’re-all-waltzes-so-be-it record I could,” she said.
Calling it ‘Mental Illness’ makes me laugh, because it is true, but it’s so blunt that it’s funny.
Added Mann: “I mean, calling it ‘Mental Illness’ makes me laugh, because it is true, but it’s so blunt that it’s funny.”
Mann also announced that she will tour in support of “Mental Illness.” Beginning April 20 in Washington, D.C., she’ll make her way up the Eastern seaboard before heading west for a dozen gigs, culminating with a homecoming at the Theatre at Ace Hotel. Mann has the full tour itinerary at her website.
Produced, as usual, by Paul Bryan (who’s also Mann’s touring bassist), “Mental Illness” also features musicians including Jonathan Coulton, Jay Bellerose on drums and Jamie Edwards on piano. Singer/songwriter Ted Leo, who makes music with Mann as the Both, also contributes.
“Mental Illness” track listing:
“Goose Snow Cone”
“Stuck in the Past”
“You Never Loved Me”
“Lies of Summer”
“Good For Me”
“Knock It Off”