Aimee Mann is proof positive that pretty girls can make great music. Usually you have to go back to Stevie Nicks, but she wasn’t the artist solo that she was with Fleetwood Mac. Kate Bush is another example; “pretty” doesn’t have to mean “vulnerable”. It can mean power, the equal or greater of its masculine counterpart. Elvis Presley wasn’t known as an uggo.
Like Elvis, Aimee Mann is naturally beautiful; back when she was punky, it seemed like the typical behavior of a girl who wants to downplay her looks to be taken seriously. If there’s one thing I enjoy in life, it’s being stopped cold by a woman’s face. I don’t know how much of it is aesthetic appreciation, and how much is chemical because I’m hetero, but there are female eyes out there that could distract me into the path of a speeding train. Aimee Mann has a pair of them.
I’m not trying to make her husband, Michael Penn, mad at me. I’m sure he gets this all the time. I’d just start raving about his score for Boogie Nights (here we go again), which is incredible (listen at the very beginning and ending), and how he starred in one of the most amazing and hysterical scenes in film history, alongside Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly, and Robert Downey Jr’s dad.
Michael Penn is the sound mixer who puts up with Reilly’s nonsense as Wahlberg attempts to sing “The Touch” from The Transformers: The Movie. When I saw this for the first time in 1997, it blew my fucking mind. You wouldn’t believe how obscure “The Touch” was in 1997 if I told you.
One of the things that got me classified as a bona fide weirdo was the fact that by 1996, I had actually seen TF:TM over 300 times. I had a videocassette, and it’s 86 minutes long. The animation, directed by Nelson Shin and storyboarded partly by Peter Chung, is nonpareil. I mean the quality is on par with Akira. If you’re not nodding in agreement, you haven’t seen it, and you’re thinking “that toy movie?”
When Mark Wahlberg began to sing “The Touch”, I knew every word. I felt a connection to his character and to director Paul Thomas Anderson that money cannot buy. PTA is the same age as I am, which cements it. He even created Dirk Diggler when he was in high school, if you can believe it.
Anyway- Wahlberg sang the song from Transformers, and less than twenty years later he’s starring in Transformers. Leonard “Spock” Nimoy was a voice in TF:TM in 1986, and he did it again in 2011. And the villain from TF:TM was a fella name of Orson Welles. It was his last role, and he hated it, probably because his fat ass was literally playing a robot planet.
Oh my god, I’m way off topic.
Here’s “Voices Carry.”
Mann originally wrote it as though it were addressed to a woman, but she was pressured to change it by Epic Records, the band’s label. The song became instead about her breakup with the drummer, Michael Hausman. I’m not certain, but I’ll bet he’s the one who looks like the guy from Simply Red.
If you’re ready to be emotionally affected, here’s the song I lauded in the strip, “4th of July”. In case you’ve never had an ex-girlfriend sing to you a decade after the breakup, this is what it feels like.
I am a great admirer of Paul Thomas Anderson, and yet I very much dislike Magnolia. There was a little feud that vanished down the memory hole, wherein Kevin Smith proclaimed to keep a copy of Magnolia on his desk as an example of pretentiousness and art-house garbage run amok. I’ve never cared for Smith’s movies, but he seems quite an admirable fellow, and this swipe against PTA increased my admiration of him. Then something happened, Smith was pressured and retracted his statements, ehh pffft. Both Smith and PTA went on to produce better and better films. Yes, I’m being diplomatic.
Listen, jerk, I loved The Master. Not liked- loved. Did you even see that one? We all know There Will Be Blood was a masterpiece. I only haven’t seen Inherent Vice because I haven’t read the book, which I’m currently rectifying. I even gave Punch-Drunk Love a chance (I liked it but the Olive Oyl song from Altman’s Popeye gets stuck in my head). Yeah, I haven’t seen any Kevin Smith movies in twenty years. So what? What am I, Leonard Maltin?
Oh my god, what the fuck is my problem?
Sorry. Here’s the Motels’ “Only The Lonely”.
It’s from 1982 and as far as I can tell not connected to ‘Til Tuesday in any way. Time to lie down.