The Forgotten Arm (SuperEgo), Aimee Mann’s fifth solo release, is a concept album: sharp, spare short stories set to music. A dozen songs that tell, rather loosely, the story of John and Caroline as they meet, fall in love and road trip across America. It is the musical equivalent of a novella.
Produced by singer-songwriter Joe Henry, The Forgotten Arm was recorded over just five days last summer. It is also Mann’s most straightforward rock record to date.
“Joe makes records really fast and he makes them in a very natural way,” says Mann. “He sort of cast the members of the band well”–including Sheryl Crow’s guitarist Jeff Trott; Julian Coryell on additional guitars; Jebin Bruni on keyboards; bass player Paul Bryan; and Victor Indrizzo and Jay Bellarose on drums–“and then we just made the record fast and simple.”
About a year ago Aimee took up boxing, hence the album’s title. “My friend who boxes has this move he was showing me and his name for it is The Forgotten Arm. It’s like when you have someone on the ropes and you’re hitting with your left hand and you have you’re other hand between the two of you and your opponent forgets about the right arm, so you can bring it in for an uppercut. To me it’s about the fact that the knock out punch is always the one you never see coming.”
Aimee has been adding a new track to her Web site every week, leading up to the album’s release date of May 3rd, which you can check out here. Also, she has an MP3 player up here.