Aimee Mann has made a deal with the devil. That’s the only way to explain the 46-year-old American lite-rocker’s flawless good looks, which remain virtually unchanged since her chart success in the 80s fronting ‘Til Tuesday (famous for their quasi-hit single, “Voices Carry”). Whether from Botox or just amazing genes, her bone structure, flowing blonde locks, and wrinkle-free skin put people half her age to shame. If only the same praise could be heaped upon her latest album.
A Christmas album is usually a bad idea. Gimmicky at best and unlistenable at worst, Christmas albums are usually played for a few weeks in December, then consigned forever to the bargain bins. Too bad for One More Drifter in the Snow, Mann’s tenth album, that it had to fall into such a miserable category. Granted, it’s not as bad as it could be, but it’s still not very exciting.
Except for two original songs, the album is a collection of the “classic” yuletide music Bing Crosby and his ilk croon over department store PA systems every year. Mann wrote one song on the album (the forgettable “Calling on Mary”), and one was written by her husband, singer Michael Penn. Most of the songs—languid, lounge-y confabulations—ooze together and form a not-entirely-terrible-but-still-not-very-interesting miasma of saddish Christmas goo.
Much like the fruitcake an elderly relative brings to Christmas every year, One More Drifter in the Snow isn’t particularly appetizing, nor would you want any in, say, mid-August, but it somehow satisfies, in a weird way. Continuing with the fruitcake metaphor, it is a mass of festive, sometimes syrupy, sometimes bitter nostalgia in a bland, slightly stale matrix of half-assed, depressing elevator music. Non-devotees of Aimee Mann: avoid this album. Fans: do yourself a favour. Pull out your old copy of, say, Bachelor No. 2. Use the extra money to buy a Santa hat and some candy canes. Seriously, fuck this shit.