Stupid Thing / Aimee Mann
HELL HATH NO FURY WEEK
Don't know about you, but about this time of year I've had it up to here with Valentine's Day marketing. All that pink-and-red, hearts and cupids crap -- who needs it? No doubt there are a few dutiful couples who really do buy each other lavish gifts for this holiday and have a special night out -- but for the rest of us, Valentine's Day is just another day to feel guilty and unloved and lonely. So here's my Valentine overload antidote: Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned Week.
You gotta love the chicks that kick back. I've already blogged about some of my favorites -- Jill Sobule's whimsical "Guy Who Doesn't Get It," Amy Rigby's feisty "20 Questions," or Thea Gilmore's savage "Things We Never Said." Get me in a bad mood and I could play just those three tunes on a continual loop.
So here's another for your Valentine Eve's listening pleasure:
I really should listen more to Aimee Mann -- every song of hers that's drifted into my personal jukebox is fantastic. I like her spiky intelligence, her don't-mess-with-me spirit, and the snarky insinuations of her throaty vocals. This one's from her 1993 album Whatever, her first solo album after leaving the band 'Til Tuesday (remember "Voices Carry"?) which gave her her start. It's a fearless declaration of independence indeed.
We're definitely in post-break-up mode here -- the withering scorn tells you there's no going back for this girl. "Nothing was saving our day / There was nothing to say / But you said something anyway." And what does this clown say? He claims she "stepped out of line" (hunh? since when was there a line?) "Which forced you to leave me / As if that idea were mine." Ah, the weaselly logic of love.
In verse two, the guy's even more passive-aggressive: "That's just like you, to sit back and just play it dumb / One word of warning would help / But that sacrifice was made trying to save yourself." Yep, he'd rather let her go on on her merry way than communicate with her. While she's assuming everything's a-okay, he's critiquing her from inside his self-protective shell. By the time she knows, he's already written her off. Case closed.
Yeah, sure, they're finito. But our girl Aimee gets the final word. "Oh you stupid thing," she scoffs wearily in the chorus. She has so little respect for him left, he's not a person anymore, just a thing. "It wasn't me that you outsmarted / Oh,you stupid thing / Stopping it all before it started." Because the guy would rather feel justified, secure in his timid unimaginative armor, than take a risk and give love a chance. Isn't that just like men?
Aimee's no victim here. She's not wailing her fate or anguishing over the guy she's lost. Self-doubt? Regret? Not in her feminist vocabulary. She likes herself just as she is, and she's not about to let a man mess with that.
She knows she's better off without him; she wouldn't take him back even if he did change (like that would happen). She's got nothing to lose -- might as well fire off this parting salvo. The wrung-out tempo, the scolding slap of the drums, even the wry exhale of that semi-cheesy organ intro -- the message is clear: this chick is DONE.