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Voices Carry Import
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
|1. Love In A Vacuum|
|2. Looking Over My Shoulder|
|3. I Could Get Used To This|
|4. No More Crying|
|5. Voices Carry|
|6. Winning The War|
|7. You Know The Rest|
|8. Maybe Monday|
|9. Are You Serious?|
|10. Don't Watch Me Bleed|
Cross the hiccuping mannerisms of the Cars' Ric Ocasek with the edgy style of the B-52s' Cindy Wilson and you've got the vocal sound of Aimee Mann, the bass-playing, silver-maned leader of 'Til Tuesday. Winner of a Boston Battle of the Bands in 1984 that led to a recording contract, this post-new-wave quartet specialized in moody music that crept under your skin--no more so than on the title track of the '85 debut, the literate ("In the dark, I like to read his mind") Top 20 hit "Voices Carry." Nothing here quite matches that song's murky intensity, but the almost equally claustrophobic, aptly titled "Love in a Vacuum" comes close. --Billy Altman
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Top Customer Reviews
...When I think of the New Wave, Goth and Punk scenes from the eighties most of the groups that come to mind are usually from Europe. Nations like England, Ireland and Germany, tended to produced the bulk of the bands in the movement, yet here we have a rare example of a band from the USA...born on the streets of Boston, they were, and still are a a Shining example of everything NEW WAVE should be...
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The same radio station staged an infamous "Rock and Roll Rumble" battle of local bands each year, and it was no surprise when this same band, 'Til Tuesday walked away with the championship, and created huge local buzz when the local music press picked up on the fact that the band had been signed after a bidding war, to Epic records. I think I probably saw 'Til Tuesday play in small clubs six or more times during that period, and I came to know many of the songs that would eventually be recorded for the first album. Aimee Mann of course, looked like a born star, tall and almost always dressed in black, with her spikey bleached white coif and signature eighties braided rat tail. It seemed for a while she was everywhere, appearing in advertising campaigns in the local paper, and her poster in the window of some hipper than thou Newbury street hair salon of the day. The rest of the band were all very good looking people including her boyfriend of the time, Drummer Michael Hausman, Guitarist Robert Holmes with his mop of Red curls, and keyboardist Joey Pesce who looked like he was slumming from his day job as a GQ model. It simply seemed at the time, that this band was destined to be huge. Their shows were very polished in a time when most of what was going on in the local music scene was more about revisiting punk and ska, and it seemed at each show the crowds got bigger and bigger.
The first thing to get out of the way, is that the album really isn't representative of what 'Til Tuesday sounded like live in those days. I still have a radio station cart of their Love in a Vacuum demo, and if the song had been anything like the demo, I think it would have been a huge hit. Needless to say, it wasn't.
Unfortunately this album sounds to me like it was recorded in one take inside a steel box, with the echo turned up too high. Anything that wasn't high pitched and full of reverb seems to get lost in the mix, and Pesce's pallete of keyboard textures seemed to have either been mixed to the back, removed entirely, or reduced to a bad casio cliche.
Aimee played base in those days, and as the front person and singer, had a nice smooth and sometimes funky base sound that worked well with Hausman's precise authoritative drumming. You'd never know it from this album, but people filled the dance floor at 'Til Tuesday shows. The album sounds like everything was plugged right into the mixing console and tweaked electronically into some alien version of what it should have been.
Holmes' chorus and delay laden guitar playing certainly gave the band its distinctive sound, and survived the recording process relatively in tact. Anyone who saw them in those days would have undoubtably noted that a big part of the 'Til Tuesday sound was his high tenor voice that harmonized so well with Mann. Those harmonies sometimes aided by the other band members were a big part of what really made the band stand out live. Did Holmes sing on the album? I think so, but it's hard to tell.
I believe time and a robust solo career has proven that Aimee's voice is much better than the way it sounds on many of these tracks (and the way she sounded live), even if the band did end up with a major radio hit with "Voices Carry" -- probably as much due to the heavy rotation the excellent video deservedly received from MTV. It's somewhat telling that there was no follow up to that hit, and that songs which stood out live, like "Looking over my shoulder", and the ultra ballad, "You know the Rest" barely register on the album. Although it was hard to admit it to myself at the time, I was really disappointed for the band. 'Til Tuesday toured with Hall and Oates, continued to write songs, Mann and Hausman broke up, and Aimee's songwriting began to change. The band rebounded nicely with their second album "Welcome Home" which is much more reflective of what 'Til Tuesday was really like in its heyday, but radio wasn't particularly receptive. I dragged my friends out to a concert which reaffirmed my belief in them as a great live act, but it seemed obvious at the time that 'Til Tuesday had jumped the Shark. After a 3rd album, which seemed more like a Mann solo project, 'Til Tuesday broke up like so many other bands of the same time period, and without much notice.
I remember seeing Amiee at a show for local boston band The Buddy System some years later, at local Boston institution, The Rat. She stood in the middle of the beer stained floor swaying to the music with the rest of the assembled crowd, largely unnoticed. I remember thinking at the time, how her star had seemed to rise and fall much too soon, and that to be honest, she seemed a little out of it.
In hindsight, it's now pretty obvious that the friends she was out supporting were part of where she was going in act 2 of her career. Connect Buddy Judge (Namesake of the band performing that night) to his future band The Grays, and band mate Jon Brion, and connect the dots. Although 'Til Tuesday seemed quite a bit about Fashion, image and hype, as it turns out, Mann was the really a singer-songwriter, Joan Baez hippy chick, under all the hair, makeup, and pre-emo costuming. It might be my memory playing tricks on me, but I've convinced myself that Brion played a set of solo material at the same show. Whatever really occurred, I realized that night that Aimee was just as much a music fan as myself, and that music and songs were a really important part of her life.
I moved out to Los Angeles that year, and forgot about 'Til Tuesday, until I happened upon Mann's first solo album. I found out she was playing a show at a local club and dragged my girlfriend out to it, and was once again floored by her striking looks, distinctive voice, and songwriting ability.
I still look back on "Voices Carry" fondly, but see it much more as part of Mann's catalog now, a part that doesn't seem to fit too well with her singer-songwriter phase. I don't know if she ever plays any of her old 'Til Tuesday material anymore, or if she considers it an embarassment. While I think the songs on this album stand up, the album is really a pale imitation of what 'Til Tuesday was capable of, and although the best known of their catalog, a distant second in quality to "Welcome Home."
There's a consistent dolorous sound throughout the album. In fact anyone hears any of the three singles, "Love In A Vacuum", "Looking Over My Shoulder", and the title track, can trace this to their earliest material. Voices Carry is the most mournful of 'til tuesday's three albums. All eleven songs deal with the breakup in various stages. In fact, it is possible to string along the songs into a heartwrenching concept album.
"Winning The War" shows the relationship at its most bitter and vicious as demonstrated by the opening lines: "You fight just for the sake of it/You know what hurts the most/You might have once been faking it/but now it cuts too close" And here's the chorus, "Winning the war/and losing every battle/You close the door/on happy ever after". The song goes on along the lines that the two should have quit while they were ahead instead of dragging this thing out to this stage.
"Don't Watch Me Bleed" is probably the ne plus ultra of despair I've heard in any of their songs. This is the point where it's finally over between the two. It's final quits, as evidenced by the chorus: "So don't just kiss me goodbye/that's not what I need/Don't just kiss me goodbye/Don't watch me bleed".
People who have gone through a breakup or divorce may find this either cathartic or too tough to take, depending on one's fragility.
All in all, a wonderful start from Aimee and company. 'til next tuesday then!
Finally, half a year or so ago, following Aimee Mann's cameo appearance on 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', I happened across a site dedicated to Aimee, where all the old albums and tracks were being discussed. It prompted me to do another search for 'Voices' on CD, and this time I was successful! I also found an article by Mike Thorne, the producer of 'Voices', in which he suggests that some pressings of the record were of inferior quality ('screechy, low in level, completely lacking the power of the original'...An 'investigation' 'revealed' that the album had been 'recut at the pressing plant' by 'the night shift' in response to the 'unexpectedly high demand'). Better had get the CD, I thought, just in case the copy I bought was one of the poor ones.
Well here's the rub. Having played the CD I find, IMO, that the tape I made of the album for listening to in the the car nearly twenty years ago sounds BETTER. No mean feat, that. On the title track in particular, the vocals just don't seem to stand out as they do on the taped recording. My greatest fear is that I have a CD version of the 'recut' record. Maybe it's actually a whole new farrago. Just be aware that if this record doesn't jump out at you, it's still worth checking out the other albums, especially 'Everything's...' [would be a '5' if the quality was up to scratch, and other buyers might get lucky...]