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CD Review: Aimee Mann

Charmer (Superego)

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Aimee Mann has made some indisputably downer records over the years, but on her eighth album, she cracks something that almost can be called a smile. Taking a cue from the pop songs of the late '70s and early '80s, when Mann started making music, Charmer is the singer-songwriter's most optimistic-sounding LP in a decade — from the bubbly title tune to "Living a Lie," a duet with the Shins' James Mercer ­— even with her usual lyrical bite.

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