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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice collaborative effort
Ted Leo and Aimee Mann both have flourishing careers (Leo sometimes solo, sometimes as part of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists). In the Fall of 2012, Leo (solo) was opening for Aimee Mann (touring in support of her then new Charmer album), and at one point the idea grew of writing some songs together. Now, 18 months later, we get the fruit of that collaboration...
Published 5 months ago by Paul Allaer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice effort but nothing like Aimee Mann's solo work
This is an interesting collaboration however it is hugely inferior to a strictly Aimee Mann recording. She is so much better than this. I hope her next recording is a solo project. I also hope she will do more work with the amazing John Sands, one of the finest, most underrated drummers I've ever heard. He is the perfect match to Aimee's understated, powerful...
Published 1 month ago by Marie L


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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice collaborative effort, April 15, 2014
This review is from: The Both (Audio CD)
Ted Leo and Aimee Mann both have flourishing careers (Leo sometimes solo, sometimes as part of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists). In the Fall of 2012, Leo (solo) was opening for Aimee Mann (touring in support of her then new Charmer album), and at one point the idea grew of writing some songs together. Now, 18 months later, we get the fruit of that collaboration.

"The Both" (11 tracks; 42 min.) is a remarkable album on many levels. From the opener "The Gambler" it is quickly apparent that this is a true collaborative effort. It's not as if Leo came up with 5 or 6 songs, and Mann likewise, and then invited the other to sing/play along. No, these songs were written together, and hence you get a unique blend of music that isn't on an Aimee Mann album or a Ted Leo album. In that sense, the album becomes a refresher not only for both Leo and Mann, but also for us the listener. Check out "Milwaukee", with a bounce that I can't recall too often on their previous work. It is my favorite track on here. "Volunteers of America" recalls late 70s Jackson Browne. "You Can't Help Me Now" is one of the more wistful songs on here. The album also includes a cover of Thin Lizzy's "Honesty Is No Excuse" (Leo is a known Lizzy aficionado). In all, this album feels like a breath of fresh air, with nary a weak moment on it, and thankfully kept to a short and sweet running time of about 40 min.

I had the good fortune of catching Aimee Mann and Ted Leo here in Cincinnati on that "Charmer" tour back in Fall, 2012. Who could've known that they would be making an album together! They are hitting the road in support of the new album this Spring, sadly not coming to Cincinnati on the first leg of the tour. I can only hope that they'll be adding more dates to the tour later in the year. Meanwhile, "The Both" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poprock at it's best, April 17, 2014
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This review is from: The Both (Audio CD)
I have been a huge fan of Aimee Mann ever since her hitmaking days with Til' Tuesday. A beautiful vocalist and a brilliant songwriter (almost) up there with the classic three: Carole King, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell. But perhaps her latest albums have not been able to ignite quite the same admiration and excitement as most of previous work.

So I must say this album comes as a pleasant surprise. Here she teams up with guitarist Ted Leo, who is also himself an accomplished singer and composer. The duo playing all instruments except the more than able drumming from Scott Seiver. In fact it's a real joy to hear Aimee back on the bass she handled so fine in Til' Tuesday.

What we got here is 10 intelligent, well-crafted and catchy originals (in fact every song has hit potential) and a Thin Lizzy cover ‘Honesty is No Excuse’ . Some driving energy combined with more introverted moments. And noisedriven solos, almost in Neil Young style courtesy of Ted Leo.

The best album from Aimee since her masterpiece *Lost In Space'.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the great band debut lps? [yeah--edited], April 17, 2014
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This review is from: The Both (Audio CD)
While I'm more familiar with Aimee's solo work than Ted's (I only had Brutalist Bricks to judge Ted by), I was pleasantly surprised to hear what sounds very much like a BAND that, oh look, just happens to feature a pair of brilliant singer/songwriters. As such, the album hits me, upon my second go-through as I write this, as potentially landing up there with my favorite classic debut lps from any number of bands one could mention.

Now, if you don't like the idea of a very aggressive, sometimes just plain LOUD guitar sound that falls squarely on Ted's very able shoulders--if you liked Aimee a lot more when she was strumming her acoustic and letting the bandmates do tasteful flourishes hither and yon--this might be a bit jarring. But Aimee's always had something of an inner headbanger in her, and I find her vocal and bass contributions a thrill to behold in this context.

I've not heard enough of the lyrical content to decide what a lot of these tunes are really "about." The oft-previewed "Milwaukee" sure sounds like this duo's joy of initial discovery; "Volunteers," is that a "Ted" talk on our nation's folly in imagining that it can somehow provide social services mostly through faith-based initiatives? and was "Hummingbird" faking us out by starting out like something Aimee might've featured on a quieter cut, but gets a lot more aggressive as it moves along, to some greater, or just meta-, purpose?

Looking forward to hearing this again, and again, to learn. You will too, if you've read this far. Get it.

[one month later]

I've upgraded this to five stars. Yes, it IS among the great band-debut LPs. Yes, I DO love it. Now if they'd only play a gig in Atlanta...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars more, more, more., April 21, 2014
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This review is from: The Both (MP3 Music)
I'm no Rolling Stone reporter, but then, Rolling Stone hasn'tt really given a lot of coverage of bands I like since the 80s.
This album is everything I wanted it to be, except it just wasn't long enough... I want more!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aimee Mann and Ted Leo: better together, May 12, 2014
By 
David Thomas (Rockville, MD United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Both (Audio CD)
I first learned that Ted Leo existed when he opened for Aimee Mann during her Charmer tour. It's pretty hard for a solo performer to win over an audience from a cold start but he did it close to effortlessly. Then he invited a special friend--AM, that is--on stage and they played a bit of this project they'd been working on. It sounded pretty good and I delved into Ted's back catalogue, which isn't bad at all.

A year later, more or less, this album came out. It's excellent. As singer-songwriters, they complement each other perfectly; they're both intelligent and sarcastic and since Mann is a bit poppy and Leo is somewhat punkish, the result is catchy and energetic, spontaneous and polished. If you need a sampler, try Milwaukee and Hummingbird. You'll want to hear the rest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Please Tell Me This Isn't A One-Off Pairing!!!, May 23, 2014
By 
Jef Fazekas (Newport Beach, California United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Both (Audio CD)
I've been a fan of Aimee Mann's for almost 30 years now, right from the first time I heard "Voices Carry." Through three 'Til Tuesday albums, seven solo releases, a Christmas disc and an acclaimed soundtrack, I've watched as this very talented lady developed into a stunning artist. In fact, along with Rodney Crowell, Martha Davis and John Hiatt, Mann has grown into being one of my four all-time favorite songwriters.
However, in the last five years or so, her career has hit a slight speed bump. Starting with 2008's @#%&*! SMILERS and continuing on to 2012's CHARMERS, a.....sameness....has settled into her work. Even CHARMERS, which was supposed to borrow heavily from the power pop energy of the 80's, only partially succeeded in shaking things up a bit.
That's why I was so glad to hear about the formation of The Both. While I know next to nothing about Ted Leo, I couldn't help but feel that working with another artist was exactly what Mann needed, and that the results just might stir the pot up a little.
Well, I'm happy to say that that's exactly what's happened! Mann is rocking harder on THE BOTH than she has in years, but there's still a super strong sense of melody and storytelling. Mann and Leo totally complement each other, each pushing the other to stretch and expand their individual sounds and styles.
Things start on a strong note with the foreboding "The Gambler." Over grinding guitars, Leo offers up a sterling lead vocal, aided and abetted by Mann's stunning harmonies. Add chilling lyrics to the mix ("The well's dry ~ I'm out of empathy/This shouldn't end with both of us dead") and you have an odd little album opener, but one that (strangely!) works!
I don't know if I would have picked "Milwaukee" as the first single, but there is an undeniable energy to the cut (I particularly love Mann's throbbing bass lines and Scott Seiver's blistering drumming!). Trading off on the lead vocals, the pair offers up a killer duet. Definitely what they used to call a great "album cut!"
There's a hypnotic quality to Mann's lead vocal on "No Sir" that's just breath-taking. Handling the first two verses, she just knocks it out of the park. In fact, as strong as Leo's vocals are on the third verse, I wish Mann had sung lead on the entire song....she's that good here! Between the stellar lead vocals and ace harmonies, "Ni Sir" is definitely THE BOTH's premiere vocal track!
"Volunteers Of America" is another winner. An insanely upbeat arrangement belies stinging lyrics ("That walk away clause/Can't be just because/You're mad at the Cross on the wall") that Leo and Mann practically spit out. And then there's the instrumentation.....Seiver's thundering drums, jangling acoustic guitar, lovely little percussive bits....brilliant! Just...brilliant!
And it only gets better from here! "Pay For It" is probably my favorite cut on THE BOTH. Borrowing from the likes of everyone from The Beatles and The Kinks to Squeeze and Split Enz, the song's simplicity is it's true power. A tight arrangement, crisp instrumentation and perfect harmonies all come together brilliantly. It doesn't get any better than this! Love, love, LOVE this cut!!!
"You Can't Help Me Now" is just classic Mann. The hushed arrangement, minimal instrumentation and delicate vocals (Leo perfectly keeps pace on the shared lead) all merge together in sublime perfection. And I love the lines "Any time you establish a world of your own/You get thrown." Just gorgeous. Simple, yet stunning. Bravo!
"The Prisoner" is another favorite of mine. From the beefy opening guitar chords to the shimmering lead vocals, the song is all over the map...but it SO works! The high point? The unbelievably catchy, picturesque chorus: "And now the snow in the streets is turning gray/All the birds at our feet have flown away/It's complicity and heat on holiday." Wow!
Upon my first few listens of "Hummingbird", I thought it was one of the disc's weaker cuts. I've since adjusted my thoughts on the matter....following the 1/2/3 powerhouse punch of the three previous tracks, there really was no place to go but down. That said, "Hummingbird"'s vocal is a winner. Another solid album cut.
I'm still kind of on the fence with "Honesty Is No Excuse." On the one hand, as the album's only cover, It doesn't hold a candle to, say, Mann's take on "Baby Blue." On the other hand, the harmonies are pitch perfect, plus I'm a sucker for anything with hand claps! We'll put this one in the "Win" column....but with reservations!
I have no such reservations about "Bedtime Stories." Yet another slice of propulsive power pop, Mann's lead vocal dances over the lyrics, while Leo's bobs and weaves. More than any other cut, "Bedtime Stories" shows just how well these two work together, and why it's VITAL that they do so again! Awesome!
The disc closes with the toe-tapping groove of "The Inevitable Shove." Anchored by producer Paul Bryan's forceful, yet tuneful, piano, the track just bops along. Both Mann and Leo swoop and soar, allowing their vocals to dip, dive and dance. Once again, it's just another example of everything coming together, plain and simple.
In fact, that's pretty much the case with the entire disc! And, I've gotta say, that has me torn...on the one hand, I'm anxious to see how THE BOTH might impact Aimee Mann's solo work. On the other hand, I can't wait to see her and Ted Leo do a follow-up album! Either way, The Both and THE BOTH are two of 2014's nicest surprises. (As with all my reviews, I'm giving the disc an extra half a star for including the lyrics. And I love the cover!).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good, May 20, 2014
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This review is from: The Both (Audio CD)
I like Aimee Mann's and Ted Leo's individual work. This is not as good as the best stuff that either of them has put out individually in the past, but it's still pretty good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sweet and salty triumph, May 19, 2014
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This review is from: The Both (Audio CD)
This album is a great blending of artists with contrasting strengths. Aimee Mann is one of my favorite songwriters but her songs can occasionally drift towards the melancholy. Ted Leo is an energetic guitarist and songwriter but can also dance on the edge of over-exuberance. On this album, Ted picks Aimee up and Aimee grounds Ted. They end up right in the middle where songwriting substance and lively musical chemistry meet. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, May 3, 2014
By 
Mr Jones "nebetv" (Alton, Illinois USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Both (Audio CD)
This will be on the Best of 14 lists. Aimee has never sounded better and Ted is equally great on guitar. There's not a dud on here. The more you listen the more you'll enjoy this cd. Fresh cutting edge tunes with meaningful lyrics,, which is must needed now, amongst the other crap out there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice!, April 30, 2014
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This review is from: The Both (MP3 Music)
I've been enjoying Aimee's work since her 'Til Tuesday years and she consistently creates very enjoyable music! The Both does not disappoint.
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The Both
The Both by Aimee Mann (Audio CD - 2014)
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