Aimee Mann – Queen of the Summer Hotel (Album Review)

Many may recognize the name Aimee Mann as the voice and co-founder of the New Wave band ‘Til Tuesday, however, many years have pasted since then, and she has built an impressive career that extends further. Making music for many decades now, outside ‘Til Tuesday, Mann has released a slew of solo material, including the highly successful 1999 soundtrack for Magnolia. Now in 2021 she returns with her tenth full-length studio Queen of the Summer Hotel, out on Friday, November 5th through SuperEgo Records. 

The story goes that Mann began working on the album back in 2018 when she was writing songs for a stage adaptation of Susanna Kaysen’s 1993 memoir Girl, Interrupted. Additionally, the album title is inspired by an Anne Sexton poem. This all in mind, much of the album touches on some heavy subject matter. It is complete with fifteen songs that offers you just over forty minutes of some thoughtful, well-composed music. 

Filled with a ton of emotion, Mann has a rather low vocal style, which is strong and yet extremely calm at the same time. In fact, even though the subjects discussed are heavy, the comfort of Mann’s voice immediately makes you feel safe. Although, it is really up to you how you feel; because the music does not dictate any emotion. It feels more like watching the scenes from a distance, and yet, as if could also be in the middle of it all. 

Each song tells a story, painting images, and feature impressive arrangements with a rich range sound that are soundtrack-like. Sonically it is soft and gentle and it yet goes deep, carefully placing peaks that set the right impulse to ignite sparks and get your mind to wander.  

As mentioned, some songs touch more sensitive and serious issues, like “Suicide is Murder,” the album’s lead single. Also one of the more somber tracks on the album, other moments which stand out are the catchy “Give Me Fifteen” and addictive “Little Chameleon.” This is while “You Don’t Have The Room” and “In Mexico” offer some of the more dark tones that are very well worth listening to closely, as the stories are not be missed. 

Overall, Queen of the Summer Hotel is a marvelous album. Setting a thought-provoking mood in the mind of each listener, it will stick with you long after the last note rings out. Clever and brilliant, Cryptic Rock gives Queen of the Summer Hotel 5 out of 5 stars. 


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