Aimee Mann

Attending an Aimee Mann show is no different from flipping a coin. Some nights she's on — clouds part, angels sing, and souls are saved; while others ... well, you're left scratching your head as to why you didn't just order Thai take-out instead. Let's hope the recent release of The Forgotten Arm will provide the spark that the melancholic singer/songwriter apparently needs. Five years after her songs inspired director P.T. Anderson's Magnolia, Mann revisits that terrain with the soundtrack to The Forgotten Arm — except, of course, this film was never released or even produced and pretty much exists only in Mann's mind. The concept album/"soundtrack" tells the story of a carnival worker who falls for a down-on-his-luck boxer and loses it all to the heroin addiction he acquired in Vietnam. Recorded in "live" takes, the cinema-flavored songs fit perfectly into Mann's live show, packing the same kind of emotional oomph as Magnolia's crowd-pleasing "Save Me."

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Cole Haddon

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