The Forgotten Arm

  • Record Label: Superego
  • Release Date: May 3, 2005
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 32 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 32
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 32
  3. Negative: 1 out of 32

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  1. NoahE
    May 21, 2005
    7
    Let me start by saying I've been a huge Aimee Mann fan from the beginning. I was blessed to have gotten to see her live at the Boulder Theatre early 2004 while promoting "Lost in Space" (an album that I find to be overlooked and not given as much credit where credit was due, particularly with brilliant numbers like "Invisible Ink" and "This Is How It Goes") Aimee Mann, to this day, Let me start by saying I've been a huge Aimee Mann fan from the beginning. I was blessed to have gotten to see her live at the Boulder Theatre early 2004 while promoting "Lost in Space" (an album that I find to be overlooked and not given as much credit where credit was due, particularly with brilliant numbers like "Invisible Ink" and "This Is How It Goes") Aimee Mann, to this day, hasn't let go of her musical personality, nor has compromised her attitude. Only this time around, Aimee Mann has decided to take a stab at a concept record approach, which the bravery alone is commendable, even when it has its flaws. Though it is easy to recognize this as an Aimee Mann album and her signature sound ever present, this is a noticably much-more hook-driven, musically upbeat record than her previous two releases which relied more on production elements. Here, there's more of a meat and potatoes, band-ready approach, while still not sounding exactly like "I'm With Stupid" or "Whatever" either, which were essentially more Alternative sounding. I could go forever analyzing the story to you here of John and Caroline, but let's just say it's quite an emotional roller-coaster and ends with a great heartache wraped in a ribbon of maturity and recovery. This record really nips at those emotions and moods of the characters, where some tracks are more effective at conveying than others. "King of the Jailhouse", "Goodbye Caroline", "That's How I Knew This Story Would Break My Heart", "Clean Up For Christmas" and "Beautiful" are the stand-out tracks of the album to me that are most effective at tearing your heart open one way or another. Other tracks prove a bit less convincing, like the lead single "Going Through The Motions" and "Video", and I can't help but feel "Little Bombs" had the potential to really hit at you like a petard. Aimee Mann is clearly here to stay and is still very much alive. Thumbs-up to her for being bold and trying out a concept album effort. Her next move will indeed have to prove to be even more particularly audacious, where she must both write something good enough for radio (or at least should be, wink wink) while also not losing her integrity that made her appealing to begin with, relentlessly recording whole albums to bash Geffen and convert all sorts of borderline psychopathic depressing delirium into, frankly, beautiful rock. Expand
  2. jimmyjimoneb
    Jun 9, 2005
    9
    Aimee is one of my favourite song-writer... and her latest release is a good exemple of the mastery of her art... as usual the songs of thee forgotten arms are catchy, efficient, flawless... the lyrics are maybe even better...
  3. AlexP
    Jul 7, 2005
    8
    This is a good album, but it's not a great Aimee Mann album. The pacing is remarkably even, but all of the songs have a fairly similar feel to them, unlike the more individual sounding songs on Bachelor #2 and the Magnolia Soundtrack. It does grow on you with a few listens. Definitely worth picking up if you're an Aimee fan, but if not, you'd be better off starting with This is a good album, but it's not a great Aimee Mann album. The pacing is remarkably even, but all of the songs have a fairly similar feel to them, unlike the more individual sounding songs on Bachelor #2 and the Magnolia Soundtrack. It does grow on you with a few listens. Definitely worth picking up if you're an Aimee fan, but if not, you'd be better off starting with Bachelor #2. Expand
  4. levvy
    Jul 8, 2005
    8
    A great follow up to Lost in Space (admittedly, possibly even better than said album). Faves include King of the Jailhouse, Going Through the Motions, I Can't Get My Head Around It and Video
  5. SamJ
    May 10, 2005
    7
    Not bad, but lacks excitement of many of her earlier releases. All the songs are competent, but there really aren't any truly great ones.
  6. RichardB
    May 15, 2005
    7
    The songs seem to be simple rehashes of her earlier work. They sound watered down and not as creative. Still, they're good enough to be listened to often but maybe that's because they're new. Time will tell, but this doesn't appear to be one of Aimee's better efforts.
  7. PaulJ
    May 26, 2005
    0
    Can her albums get any duller? Her decline from the sublime "Whatever" to the ridiculous is now complete. How many times does she have to write and sing about the same thing? Enough is enough-only buy this album if you need help sleeping.
  8. AndrewN
    May 27, 2005
    9
    Joe Henry owns! The album flows beautifully and has a subtlety we hear far too seldom in modern recording.
  9. andy
    Jun 12, 2005
    9
    Brilliance.. Emotional, smart song writing. An oasis in an otherwise arid sex obsessed caravan of popular musidiots.
  10. Matt
    Jun 9, 2005
    7
    A little uneven, but still quite worthwhile for fans and non-fans alike.
  11. JoshH
    Jul 3, 2005
    10
    Mann's best work yet. It took me a few listens to realize that. She's become much more on this album and Lost In Space -- even the transcendant Bachelor No. 2 had its flaws. The lyrics on "Goodbye Caroline" might be her finest. One of the top albums of the year.
  12. PopeJohnPaul
    Aug 17, 2005
    9
    No, there are no major musical innovations here (honestly, there haven't been any since Bachelor No. 2 for Aimee), but this is still arguably the most consistent album she has released yet, and it's great to hear her sounding revitalized after the near-terminally dull Lost In Space. There is no way that wasn't a run-on sentence.
  13. JohnB
    Sep 8, 2005
    9
    Terrific. Benefits enormously from the new stripped-down sound (no fussy overdubs... a much leaner production) which gives it a real directness. A real relief to get away from complaint and confessional and move towards writing about third parties. Great stuff.
  14. TimH
    Jan 8, 2006
    8
    This album is still growing on me. Very very nice effort by Aimmee. Congrats
  15. SamD
    Nov 28, 2005
    7
    On this site, i continue to hear the same thing; Lost in Space was dull. One, people who say that didn't listen to the lyrics whatsoever; It's Not, Today's the Day, and Real Bad News are some of the best, and most tragically beautiful, lyrics i have ever heard. So when I popped The Forgotten Arm, I was shocked to hear that some of the songs slipped a bit in the lyrical On this site, i continue to hear the same thing; Lost in Space was dull. One, people who say that didn't listen to the lyrics whatsoever; It's Not, Today's the Day, and Real Bad News are some of the best, and most tragically beautiful, lyrics i have ever heard. So when I popped The Forgotten Arm, I was shocked to hear that some of the songs slipped a bit in the lyrical department. They were all still beautiful, but it seemed that Aimee wasn't behind all of them 100%. Goodbye Caroline and Beautiful captured my heart from the first go 'round, but the others will take a few more test drives before they become memorable. Collapse
  16. PhilippeM
    May 21, 2005
    9
    very different yet very concistent with her previous work, especially bachelor and whatever. Loved all songs but no single one really stands out as a WOW (Exept maybe "this is how I knew this story would break my heart"). Sort of album that grows on you..... Like a good wine, u need to know about previous aimee to really appreciate it.
  17. JonnyL
    May 23, 2005
    8
    Though Aimee is by far my favorite songwriter, I find myself still wondering about The Forgotten Arm. I love the concept-album idea, and as always, I enjoy Aimee's excellent lyric sensibilities and her musical ideas. Both musically and lyrically, this album is a departure from her previous efforts; to a first time Aimee Mann buyer, I would recommend Bachelor No 2 before buying this Though Aimee is by far my favorite songwriter, I find myself still wondering about The Forgotten Arm. I love the concept-album idea, and as always, I enjoy Aimee's excellent lyric sensibilities and her musical ideas. Both musically and lyrically, this album is a departure from her previous efforts; to a first time Aimee Mann buyer, I would recommend Bachelor No 2 before buying this CD. However, if you like AImee, this CD will take you to an new place; I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it's been in my CD player more than any other CD since I bought it May 3rd. Expand
  18. PhilipL
    Jun 22, 2005
    10
    Complete brilliance! Aimee is such a talented and gifted song writer. Songs are full of emotions and flawless writing. She should have won the Academy Award for her work in Magnolia over Phil's Collins cartoon song ;-)
  19. ChadS
    Sep 22, 2005
    9
    Ploughing through "Lost in Music" for the first time brought back memories of my disappointment towards Prince's "Graffiti Bridge"; the shock that creative fatigue happens to the great ones, too. It was the first time an Aimee Mann album made me yawn(even 'til tuesday's "Welcome Home") has more high points). With some trepidation, I pressed "play" on my cheap-ass cd player, Ploughing through "Lost in Music" for the first time brought back memories of my disappointment towards Prince's "Graffiti Bridge"; the shock that creative fatigue happens to the great ones, too. It was the first time an Aimee Mann album made me yawn(even 'til tuesday's "Welcome Home") has more high points). With some trepidation, I pressed "play" on my cheap-ass cd player, and that trepidation was waylaid. Aimee Mann is back. There's no "Mr. Harris"(I think this is her finest moment), "Frankenstein", or "Ghost World", but Mann is once again melding intelligent lyrics to hummable melodies like no other female singer-songwriter in the past fifteen years. And this includes the third 'til tuesday album, which has "Rip in Heaven", where Mann deftly encapsulates romantic disappointment with unerring naked verve in its rousing chorus, and "Limits to Love", a character sketch every bit as stunning as "Mr. Harris". As for "The Forgotten Arm", my favorite songs are "Goodbye Caroline", "Video", and "I Can't Help you Anymore". She's coming to Hawaii and I hope she plays "Sign of Love"(from "Back to the Beach"), even though it's a cover. Somebody needs to give that neglected gem some props. Expand
  20. AustinA
    Nov 17, 2005
    9
    In this story of agonizing love, Aimee Mann seems to lose focus on some songs yet the great ones make the album timeless.
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. And though she may be running in place lyrically, her melodies have never been keener and her vocals grow richer and more confident with each release.
  2. Blender
    40
    If she doesn't follow commercial formulas, she's following creative ones, and selling herself short in the process. [Jun 2005, p.111]
  3. Mojo
    60
    An unfussy affair. [Jun 2005, p.108]