When Aimee Mann put out her first solo album, Whatever, in 1993, most people only knew her – if they did at all – as the girl with rat tail in the incredibly cheesy video for ‘til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry,” one of the most one-hit of all 1980s one-hit wonders.
Even worse, in the music snob community, she was known as one of those women who would write songs about their ex-boyfriends, kind of a proto-Taylor Swift.
Speaking of which, the whole “I wouldn’t want to date her, cos she might write a song about me” put-down is incredibly sexist. I mean, was there ever a narrative telling 15-year-old girls to not have threesomes with Mick Jagger or Red Lobster waitresses not to bang LL Cool J after work because Mick and LL might write songs about those encounters? No. Double fucking standard.
ANYWAYS, the musical point is that the ’til Tuesday records always seemed very weighted down by 1980s production values, and there didn’t seem like much hope that a solo album by their lead singer would amount to very much.
It takes about 30 seconds into “I Should’ve Known” to dispel that theory, and by the time it gets to the chorus, Aimee Mann has fully reinvented herself as a writer of smart, sophisticated, rock-oriented pop songs..
The proof is how the background singers are singing the ellipses in the chorus as she’s listing the various things she should have known …
I should’ve known (dot dot dot) it was coming down to this.
I should’ve known (dot dot dot) you’d betray me but without the kiss.
I should’ve known (dot dot dot) the kind of set-up it is.
“I Should’ve Known” Performed Live on the Jools Holland Show, 1993.
My Certain Songs Playlist on Spotify