Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 117
Sun. May 27, 2013

“Voices Carry (iTunes Originals version)”
Aimee Mann


“♫ And
I try so
hard to
keep it

Imagine it’s the twenty year anniversary in the release of the Top 40 single that gave you success but also became the blessed curse of fame. Speaking of those challenging times with Style Weekly, Aimee Mann said, “It was very difficult to deal with that. I didn’t like it all. It takes a certain kind of person to enjoy being stared at 24 hours a day. I find it more intrusive than enjoyable.” Aimee Mann had this dilemma when she recorded her very own iTunes Originals sessions in 2005. Instead of turning her back and ignoring the 20 year landmark, Mann came up with a new arrangement of her most infamous song, “Voices Carry” that she recorded with Till Tuesday in 1985.

Looking back at her career with actor/comedian Patton Oswalt, in a 2005 Believer Mag interview with Mann, Oswalt asked the former Till Tuesday singer, “But isn’t that what a good musician does? They’re just writing songs about these individual moments. It’s not a full story, just a glimpse at a fractured scene?” Aimee responded, “That’s true. My memories seem to come in small fragments. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, though. It can be disconcerting. It’s happened a lot to me recently. There are times when I feel like I can’t remember stuff. I know how a normal brain should work. You should remember things that happened to you recently. But I’ll find myself thinking, “Wait, did I just say that?” I wonder, is this early Alzheimer’s or something? I only remember bits and pieces from my life. Maybe it’s all just too much for me, and I need to block most of it out.”

Thankfully, Aimee doesn’t block out all of the most important fodder for her songs. Asked why she recorded an iTunes version of her famous Till Tuesday hit song, ‘Voices Carry,” Mann replied, “The song represents the beginning of my career, and I felt that maybe it was time to be able to share a different version of it with the fans through iTunes.”

I prefer this stripped down version to the 1985 new wave original. This iTunes acoustic rendition has a more a slowed down Bachelor No. 2 vibe, a-la Magnolia’s “Save Me.” The more serious feel gives “Voices Carry” a more hushed, seductive quality missing from the pop version of 1985. This iTunes version is quite eerie and turns this Till Tuesday classic into a 21st Century treasure.

I love the fact that Aimee Mann has the spirit to go back and not only cover one of her most famous songs but recreate, “Voices Carry” breathing new life to this 1980’s staple with a new haunting quality. Not many singer/songwriters would dare to reimagine their first hit song in such an intimate setting.

Asked by New York Press on how lyrical and chords fragments become songs like “Voices Carry,” Mann replied, “I don’t know, it depends. By and large it’s just me sitting around with a guitar and playing something I like the sound of, and it reminds me of a certain mood, and how would I describe this mood, and try to come up with a concrete picture of how the scenario would be to create such a mood…and that’s how I go about it.”

We would all love the believe as long as Aimee Mann has her guitar by her side and she’s writing songs about infinite complexities of love, her life is good, right? With songs like “Voices Carry” in her illustrious music canon, what could Mann be worried about? One of the things we adore about Mann is that she’s just as perplexing human like the rest of her devoted followers. I remember when Mann said this to Oswalt in 2005, “I have this terrible feeling that my life is getting away from me. My life is just falling in half, and I’m focused on these crazy, stupid, mundane things. But in a way, it also stabilizes me, too. If you obsess about something, even if it’s something small and trivial, it kinda brings your life into focus. It becomes your entire life. Everything else just becomes irrelevant.”

Aimee Mann doesn’t need to worry about becoming irrelevant. In 2005, she gave new life this twenty year anniversary stripped down version is even more evocative and memorable than the 1985 original. You will discover more secrets inside the haunted beauty of this brilliant iTunes Originals version; re-experience the magic, in this new incarnation, “Voices Carry” lives again.