If Aimee Mann’s profile never again approaches the (relative) highs of her post-Magnolia soundtrack fame, that will be fine with us. Because as her seventh studio album attests, Mann is not a star per se but a master craftswoman of pop melancholia. Smilers has its unexpectedly jaunty moments, like the warm keys driving album opener “Freeway.” But Mann’s voice—ghostly, detached, razor-sharp—is the disc’s emotional ballast. And ultimately, its spiritual center as well.
Out June 3