Of the 80's bands, 'til tuesday was one of the most talented, thanks to Aimee Mann and Robert Holmes. Unfortunately, they fell into the trap of the sophomore slump and the tertiary collapse, after which they dissolved. Pity, really, since not only do I enjoy all three of their albums, but I consider this, their third and final album, released in 1988, to be their best accomplishment ever, even better than Aimee Mann's solo debut, Whatever. Call it a well-aged bottle of pleasing melancholy that keeps getting better.
The songs here are more wistful than downright sad as in Voices Carry, and have a more radio-friendly beat instead of a depressing dirge. No, it doesn't make one want to look for something sharp after listening to Type O Negative or Black Tape For A Blue Girl, but after listening to Everything's Different Now, you feel refreshed but want to take a nap to digest all that melancholy.
The title track, "Rip In Heaven," and "'J' For Jules" are prime examples of that bittersweet melancholy. Like popster Kim Wilde, Aimee Mann is a sage of lost love and times when things weren't so sad. Her voice is more polished here and the group more tight-knit, so there was no reason they couldn't have continued through the early 1990's, despite the explosion of the Seattle sound. Music buyers, thy name is fickle.
She is a great lyricist too. In "Rip In Heaven," she writes how fragile a creature optimism is: "optimistic feelings can't be/passed from hand to hand/You handle them/they tend to die." When she sings "We both know we had a past/but present must contain/a future where both of us can fit", she exemplifies the introspective rational who sees the present as an interval between past and present.
"'J' For Jules" is a song about her then-beau, music producer Jules Shear. She compares her relationship to a country. It's classic; it begins happy, there's that country beginning with 'J', then the bridge, where "there's no way a country could die/told me they drift away/but that's a lie" and the end of the country, which only exists in her heart.
It's magical when I pick up words and think, oh yes, that's the story of my life. The single "(Believed You Were) Lucky" begins with a guitar that preempts the hopelessness and resignation of the opening lines. When I hear, "So I guess I'll give it up/yeah I guess I will/What's the use in pushing/when it's all uphill", I hear a familiar soundtrack that's gone through my life. The chorus goes: "I wish you believed in life/believed in fate/believed you were lucky/and worth the wait/'cause life could be lovely/Life could be so great." Alas, this poor soul only wishes he did.
Another example are lines in "Long Gone (Buddy)": "Nobody wants to be happier more than I do/But happiness I must confess/I don't have" and "It's not that I'm frightened of being alone/It's just that I know what a burden this grief can be." Loneliness does carry freedom as a reward, but grief as a consequence.
My favorite song? "The Other End (Of The Telescope)", which features guest vocals by Elvis Costello. It could be sung in front of a campfire, but after a few beers, when the sad stage of being drunk sets in. But there are a whole lot of others that are nipping at its heels, like the other songs I have already mentioned.
There are many things I still wonder to this day. Why is life so painful sometimes, why did John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Selena, and Aaliyah have to die young, and why wasn't Everything's Different Now more popular?