A current of sadness runs through Lost In Space
. Maybe it's the shadow of Aimee Mann's well-publicized label problems. Maybe it's her voice, and how it manages to sound melancholy even at its most upbeat (here, that would be the title track). Maybe it's the comics in the album's liner notes, which are more emotionally affecting than some entire novels. Whatever it is, Lost In Space
is not the kind of album to put on when you're going through a tough time.
It is, however, precisely the sort of thing to listen to when you start to believe that major labels know what they're doing. For an artist who was cut for not being radio-friendly enough, Mann shows an incredibly skilled ear for melody and tunefulness. Every song here is a testament to that fact: the quiet, lilting "It's Not"; the countrified "Humpty Dumpty"; the epic "Invisible Ink", which goes from acoustic to orchestral and back over the course of five minutes. Devoid of obvious weak points, Lost In Space sounds sad without ever becoming schmaltzy. It's sure to bring a few tears, especially if you happen to be one of Ms. Mann's former employers -- after all, losing an artist of Mann's caliber is surely a firing offense.