Thursday, November 11, 2010


OK, a bold headline for a little blog post, but this songs just resonates with me. 

Eleven years ago I worked at MTV2. We pretty much just played music videos. In early 2000, we were playing every video of all time, in alphabetical order. It was fun, but at some point, we took breaks from that to play new music, and one of the new videos we focused on was Aimee Mann's "Save Me" from the Magnolia soundtrack. Of course I knew who she was: I'd seen her with 'til Tuesday opening for Tom Petty years earlier, and I'd heard songs from, and read 5 star reviews of, her first two solo albums Whatever and I'm With Stupid. And of course, she guested on "Time Stand Still" by one of my favorite bands, Rush (he said UN-sarcastically). She was an artist who I'd meant to catch up with at some point. This was that point.

The video for "Save Me" stopped me dead in my tracks. I already knew I wanted to see the movie: I loved Paul Thomas Anderson's previous film Boogie Nights, and the way he portrayed flawed characters without judging. And I loved the actors, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly and Phillip Seymour Hoffman who were in both of the films. (Moore and Reilly were in the "Save Me" video, as was co-star [not star, but co-star] Tom Cruise.) But the video would have sold me on the movie no matter what.  Something about Aimee, with that gaze, singing that song next to these sad but not hopeless characters really spoke to me. It's hard to identify why.

The film and Aimee's soundtrack made a big impact on me. I'm not always the most tolerant person in the world, but I try not to be judgemental, and this song somehow reminds me of that.  Aimee's character - her image in this video, her songs in the film - are also a reminder.  She isn't so accepting that she's an enabler. It's just that she's not judging. She's not damning you while you go down, but she's not aiding in your destruction.  If you want to get better, great: she's there to help.  (I realize I'm superimposing my interpretation here, but isn't that what music's about: how you interpret it?)  It's a good way to be, I think, and this song helps me to try and remember to be that way.  How many songs can actually influence your behavior?  Thanks for writing this one, Aimee Mann, and here's hoping you perform it Saturday night at the South Orange Performaning Arts Center!

Here's the video:

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