@#%&*! Smilers

Genre: Rock; Lead Performer: Aimee Mann

For anyone hoping Aimee Mann might bust out of her midtempo-ballad groove and pump up the volume, @#%&*! Smilers isn’t your answered prayer. She’s abandoned electric guitars altogether now, and even her trademark analog synths sound subdued. That’s okay: This effect only draws attention to her lost-soul narratives. Whether she’s doling out tough love to a fading golden boy on ”It’s Over” (”You’ll call it fate/When you show up too late”) or reaching an ex via séance on ”True Believer” (”I want you, but you’re a poltergeist”), her yarns prove just as lovely as they are doleful. B+
DOWNLOAD THIS: Listen to ''It's Over'' at AOLMusic

Originally posted June 6 2008 — 12:00 AM EDT

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