No matter how delinquent I’ve been in posting, I’d be remiss to let an Aimee Mann release date fly by without at the very least acknowledging it. She’s easily one of my top ten favorite songwriters– if not in the last decade, of all time. In fact, I think your time would be better spent listening to her phenomenal new record Charmer rather than listen to me try to invent new superlatives to tell you why.
That said: the video for the new song “Labrador” is a labor of love, and as someone who grew up thinking music videos were VERY important, it’s a masterpiece. For those of you who’ve completely divorced Mann’s solo career from her previous career with ‘Til Tuesday, believe it or not, that song “Voices Carry” was her– and yeah, it is the song you think it is. I’ve always had a soft spot for the video, partially because I remember thinking it was very edgy– and partially because I loved seeing a chick walk in a practice room and pick up a bass. She always commanded attention, even in that very ’80s video.
So why do I mention it? Well, you might want to watch “Voices Carry” real quick…
…before checking out the scene-by-scene reshoot of “Labrador”–
Because I’m always infinitely more interested in what artists and directors have to say than my own conjecture, here’s what Mann and director (comedian) Tom Scharpling have to say about the project:
“I’ve been such a fan of Tom Scharpling and his videos and I’ve come to really trust his opinion and ideas about many, many things. When Tom and I were first talking about doing a video together, I quickly realized that I wanted to do two and not just one, and that maybe it would be slightly more cost effective to do two at once, and that although I felt the something funny would make sense for “Charmer,” the one for “Labrador” seemed to call out for something a little more contemplative, did he not agree? And then I got an email from him, full of trepidation, where he said he respected my desire for something a little more serious, but that he had this idea, and please forgive him for suggesting it, and that he hoped I wouldn’t take it the wrong way. Now, is the “Voice Carry” video something that, having been incredibly earnest about in the 80′s when I first made it, I now find to be wildly embarrassing? Oh, yes, indeed. It is a measure of my trust in him that I immediately agreed to do it. And honestly, the ridiculousness of the idea was compelling. I must admit too, that a large portion of my agreeing to do it was the idea of seeing Jon Wurster in an undershirt. I begged Jon Hamm to be part of it, god bless him, and I love that Ted Leo is in it, too. I’m extremely happy with the results. It blew my mind how obsessed Tom was with getting each shot to be as close to the original as possible, and Jon Wurster’s constant giggling at his part in it made it super fun. ”
“As someone who grew up watching MTV in the 80s, I must’ve seen Til Tuesday’s video for “Voices Carry” hundreds of times. The storyline and drama and message were pretty much tattooed on my brain. It’s funny that twenty-something years later I was directing a couple videos for Aimee’s new album, because even though she is a great friend and an artist whose body of work I admire so deeply, the first time I learned about her was through that video. So the idea of doing a shot-for-shot remake made sense to me, because it was a way to establish a thread from the first video I saw of hers to the video I was now in the position of directing. And it’s great to see her taking on something that has been so iconic in her body of work; lots of people remember all of the trademarks from the original – the hair, the creepy boyfriend, her standing up in the theater during the video’s finale. I will say I was incredibly nervous pitching the idea to her because it was such an all-or-nothing concept; if she’s not into it, we’re not doing it at all. But I saw it as a chance for her to do something that would give people a chance to see how amazingly funny she is. And thankfully she said yes!”
OK, OK, I couldn’t get through without using ANY superlatives– as usual, Mann’s songwriting is brilliant and the music is both catchy and memorable– I reserve the right to come back and fuss over it more later, once I know it the way I like to know all of her music: in my bones, like a reflex.
FIND AIMEE MANN ONLINE:
OR CATCH HER ON THE ROAD: