Aimee Mann with Ted Leo

The Both - Super Ego Records 2014

Tracks: 1. Gambler / 2. Milwaukee / 3. No Sir / 4. Volunteers of America / 5. Pay for It Now / 6. You Can't Help / 7. Prisoner / 8. Hummingbird / 9. Honesty Is No Excuse / 10. Bedtime Stories / 11. Inevitable Shove


As a big fan of Aimee Mann (both her voice and her songwriting), I obviously also had to have her CD release ”The Both” on which she plays one half of a duo with Ted Leo. Unfortunately, after listening to the CD several times, I must conclude there it is too much Ted Leo and too little Aimee Mann; Even though they probably divided both songwriting and singing roughly equally.

Leo has a nice but not very interesting voice, and it easily becomes tiring in the long run. There is no doubt that he is a very talented guitarist, but some of the songs are characterized by too much distorted heroic guitar. As far as the songwriting is concerned, the numbers are the strongest, on which you sense that Mann was the main force.

My clear favorite is the great ballad "You Can not Help Me Now"; a song that could well have been retrieved on one of Mann's later albums; Mann did share vocals with other singers a couple of times on earlier releases. Also "No Sir" is a nice track, which is largely characterized by Mann. The last song I want to highlight is the folkish ballad "Hummingbird", which has been written a little in the same tradition as "Jacob Marley's Chain" from Manns debut album.

The album as such is solid enough, and it is always a pleasure to listen to Mann's vocals; even just as harmony. I can only welcome that Mann is back as a soloist, now with the excellent album "Mental Illness" released here in 2017.

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