WBEZ | Aimee Mann Ted Leo Both http://www.wbez.org/tags/aimee-mann-ted-leo-both Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Both isn’t what you might expect http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-04/both-isn%E2%80%99t-what-you-might-expect-109993 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Both.JPG" style="height: 350px; width: 350px;" title="" /></div><p>Critics make a fatal mistake when they review the album (or film, or book, or any other <em>objet d&rsquo;art</em>) that they&rsquo;d wish an artist had made instead of the one they actually produced. Some fans of one, the other, or the Both were puzzled by the pairing of singer-songwriter Aimee Mann, that champion of beautiful songs chronicling ugly heartbreaks, and Ted Leo, the earnest punk-rock troubadour, but I thought, &ldquo;Of course!,&rdquo; and eagerly anticipated a set of angry, hard-hitting, but ultimately irresistible set of smart political pop.</p><p>Sure, it&rsquo;s disappointing that that&rsquo;s not what we get on the duo&rsquo;s self-titled debut; <em>The Both </em>merely is a collection of the usual exquisitely crafted tunes these two give us, this time written as a tag team. The tunes are perhaps a little more rocking on Mann&rsquo;s part, and a little more tuneful on Leo&rsquo;s, but in general this is a smooth merger of two strong voices and a partnership that spurs two sharp writers to hone their best lines even more. Mann&rsquo;s had this before of course, with her husband Michael Penn; it&rsquo;s more of a revelation for Leo, who&rsquo;s always been the center of all of his projects.</p><p>The musical coupling isn&rsquo;t without its missteps, however, chief among them the dreadful &ldquo;Milwaukee,&rdquo; which recounts a stroll through that fine burg that includes a contemplation of its statue in tribute to Arthur Fonzarelli paired with a chorus about &ldquo;a nucleus burning inside of itself.&rdquo; (Don&rsquo;t ask me; I don&rsquo;t get it, either.) But tunes like &ldquo;Volunteers of America,&rdquo; &ldquo;You Can&rsquo;t Help Me Now,&rdquo; and &ldquo;The Prisoner&rdquo; are pretty darn swell&mdash;even if they fall short of Mann&rsquo;s last, brilliant solo album <em>Charmer </em>(2012), and even if they aren&rsquo;t quite what we&rsquo;d hoped they&rsquo;d be.</p><p><strong>Aimee Mann and Ted Leo, <em>The Both </em>(SuperEgo Records)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the 4-star scale: 3 stars.</strong></p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong> and </strong></em><a href="http://jimcarmeltvdinner.libsyn.com/"><strong>Jim + Carmel&rsquo;s TV + Dinner</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 09:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-04/both-isn%E2%80%99t-what-you-might-expect-109993