20 Signs of Life in 2002
Number 20 - Aimee Mann - Lost in Space
Aimee Mann’s entire career path has been predicated upon being misunderstood. Ever since ’Til Tuesday’s accidental 1985 hit "Voices Carry," labels have been sorely disappointed by Mann’s resolute refusal to replicate that bottled pop lightning in favor of pursuing her personal musical vision. The latest chapter in Mann’s solo career finds her once again in the role of misunderstood artiste. Just as her label rejected Mann’s last solo album, Bachelor #2, as unmarketable, the fluke success of her Magnolia soundtrack allowed Mann to retrieve the album from the industry scrap heap and self-release it to almost universal acclaim.
True to form, Mann followed Bachelor #2’s brilliance with the muted exploration of Lost in Space, an album rife with familiar themes of loss and emotional dysfunction. This time, Mann wraps her tales of heartbreak in a musical atmosphere as melancholy as her downcast lyrics, creating an album that demands repeated listenings for its subtle beauty to reveal itself. And, predictably, critics have responded to Lost in Space with the same confused apprehension characterizing Mann’s major label relationships. . Lost in Space has been unfairly dismissed as inferior to Mann’s previous works. However, patience and time have proven the worth of her work in the past, and Lost in Space will likely find its audience in retrospect. For those who have no need of that distant perspective, Lost in Space is one of the albums of the year–right now.