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Bachelor No. 2 or, the Last Remains of the Dodo

4.7 out of 5 stars 180 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Bachelor No. 2 is the product of a woman whose 40th birthday looms months ahead, and it illustrates how a little seasoning has paid off creatively for Aimee Mann. Always an incisive lyricist, the eloquent singer-songwriter further hones her wordplay to a razor-sharp edge. Her subjects are so adroitly sliced and diced that little blood is shed, though they're permanently cut down to size. "Calling It Quits" targets some cad who is "numbering himself among the masterminds 'cause he's hit upon the leverage of valentines." Not that Mann spares herself from a steely assessment: "I know I had it coming / From a Caesar who was only slumming" she admits in "The Fall of the World's Own Optimist." Though this 13-track collection borrows three songs from its immediate predecessor, Mann's soundtrack to Magnolia, its musical ingenuity and consistency (notable considering five different production teams are credited here) make the scattered redundancies irrelevant. Mann's artistic growth has been evident with each new release, and Bachelor marks her biggest leap forward to date. --Steven Stolder
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 28, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: March 28, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: SuperEgo Records
  • Run Time: 49 minutes
  • ASIN: B00004RG4Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,228 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This album will really sneak up on you. When I first played it, it seemed somewhat, well, subdued. Not quite as poppy as "Whatever," not quite as hard-edged as "I'm With Stupid." But after listening to it again, I found myself unable to get it's songs out of my head. The subtlety of it's lyrics and melodies will sneak up and capture you. Now I can't stop listening to it! Bachelor No. 2 is nothing short of lyrically brilliant, and shows Aimee Mann has yet again developed her craft ever further. Imagine the acerbic wit of Elvis Costello combined with the masterful wordplay of a modern day Cole Porter or Ira Gershwin not afraid to use the "F" word to accent it's real life edginess. The top selections range from the jazzy, hypnotic "Calling It Quits" to the love blown up in your face resignation of "Susan" ("I guess I see it all in hindsight/I tried to keep perspective despite/The flash of the fuse, the smell of cordite"), "Red Vines" ("Well, it's always fun and games until/ it's clear you haven't got the skill/ in keeping the gag from going too far"), and the Elvis Costello co-written "The Fall of the World's Own Optimist," ("'cause the eggshells I've been treading/ couldn't spare me a beheading/ and I'll know I had it coming/ from a Caesar who was only slumming"). Great stuff accompanied by unique arrangements. This album also includes 3 selections off of Aimee's "Magnolia" soundtrack, but if you already own and enjoy that CD, let that be an encouragement, not discouragement, to add this keeper to your collection and explore it's wealth of riches.
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Format: Audio CD
"Hey, kids--look at this/ it's the fall of the world's own optimist/ I could get back up if you insist/ but you'll have to ask politely/ cause the eggshells I've been treading/ couldn't spare me a beheading" from Bachelor #2's '...Optimist' (co-written with fellow music expatriate Elvis Costello) pretty much sums up Aimee Mann's musical stance -- well, it's time to ask politely. What's a songwriting genius with integrity far beyond industry comprehension to do when a major label monolith refuses to release stellar new material? Hmm, first release a career-defining soundtrack ('Magnolia'), earn golden globe and academy award nomintations, and follow up by continuing to single-handedly restore signs of life into the languishing Billboard charts by releasing 'Bachelor #2', yet another defining moment in a truly inspired body of work. I've never heard such consistency in a cd - not one moment of 'filler'. A collection of pure, honest, gorgeous lyrics, melodies and arrangements. Yes, it's time to make history, Ms. Mann.
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Format: Audio CD
The good thing about Bachelor No. 2 is that Aimee Mann fans, like me, will be extremely satisfied. The bad thing is that it's not really an Aimee starter album. She's getting all sorts of exposure with her Golden Globe and Oscar Nominations for "Save Me" from the "Magnolia" Soundtrack. If that's how you've become interested, "Magnolia" may be a better start, and "Whatever" is better yet. Still, Bachelor No. 2 has all the features that make her other works strong: strong vocals, music, and most of all, engaging lyrics. Aimee Mann uses pop-slang more like a poet than other popular musicians. Her appreciation for terms such as "Whatever" and "I'm with Stupid" are advertised in the names of her first two solo efforts, but her use of those terms comes alive in a way that defies cliché. That power is apparent in "The Fall of the World's Own Optimist," - "I'll know I had it coming from a Caesar who was only slumming." Here's a sentiment that really couldn't be expressed if the word "slumming" wasn't in vogue. Years from now, when it isn't, the song will leave a little hint about the age in which it was written. That's what Aimee Mann is really good at - expressing sentiments. A line from "Deathly," - "Now that I've met you would you object to never seeing each other again" inspired the movie "Magnolia." The whole film was built around a scenario on which that sentiment could be expressed. The song is one of a few that appears both on "Bachelor No. 2" and "Magnolia." Both albums could have been better still if they were released as one, without the annoying extra songs at the end of "Magnolia" by other artists. "Bachelor No.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Her songs for the movie Magnolia have helped introduce many to one of the few uncontestable facts in today's pop/rock scene. Aimee Mann is the most gifted songwriter to emerge in the genre since Elvis Costello. "Bachelor #2", which like both of her previous solo albums was intended for release by a different record label, is just further proof.
A few songs are duplicated on the Magnolia soundtrack (and there are a couple items on Magnolia that would sound great here), but that doesn't diminish the overall quality of the album. Indeed, it is a tribute to Mann's talent that her songs stand up so well in other contexts. In fact, one of the songs that appears on both releases ("Deathly") contained the lyric which inspired Paul Thomas Anderson's script for Magnolia.
Picking out the best songs is a difficult task only because there's so much quality here. "You Do" is one of Mann's best disections of a troubled relationship (an area where she has always excelled), while "Nothing Is Good Enough" keeps you guessing whether the subject of the song is an ex-lover or a dense record-company executive against a musical backdrop that reminds you of the best moments of "Pet Sounds." My personal favorite, "Satellite", is a graceful, eloquent song which manages to sound both timeless and familiar. More than almost any song on the album, this one highlights her enduring gift for taking the best of pop music before her and transforming it into something new, fresh and entirely her own. If you lament the scarcity of good song-writing in today's pop-music world, this album will restore your faith and give you hope fo the future.
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