Bachelor No. 2 (Or, the Last Remains of the Dodo)
After releasing the excellent but understated Whatever in 1995, Boston-based songwriter Aimee Mann decamped to Los Angeles, vowing, at least for a time, to have nothing more to do with the music industry. When a new Aimee Mann effort, Bachelor No. 2 Or, the Last Remains of the Dodo, finally appeared in 2000, Mann made sure it came out on her terms, initially self-releasing it and selling it through her website, before its eventual success let her secure a favorable distribution deal. The album itself is decidedly more complex than the spare folk-pop that characterized Mann’s earlier work. This is, after all, a Los Angeles album, and though Mann’s melancholic reflections on failed relationships and emotional desperation may not be brimming with West Coast optimism, they're draped in rich production flourishes courtesy of producer Jon Brion. Brion’s lush but never overindulgent production adds a stunning Beatlesque sheen to Bachelor No. 2, transforming songs like “How Am I Different” from introverted confessionals into perfectly calibrated evocations of the golden age of Los Angeles studio pop.