The Forgotten Arm - Aimee Mann
The Forgotten Arm Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 32 Ratings

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  • Summary: Produced by Joe Henry, Mann's first studio disc in three years is a concept album about the life of a boxer during the 1970s.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. It's her darkest and most complex record to date, an examination of the centripetal destruction that consumes lives at the point of no return.
  2. The songs on The Forgotten Arm are too engaging to dismiss their familiarity.
  3. While the emotional payoff of the album proves more satisfying than anything she’s done so far, the individual tracks don’t stand alone as well.
  4. Once the contrivance of The Forgotten Arm’s vaguely sketched plot device crumbles, there are still solid tracks to be found.
  5. While the music here isn't as good as that on Bachelor, the strict structure does help give The Forgotten Arm direction, helping shape it into one of her more consistent albums.
  6. Unfortunately, this straightforward approach also reveals how straight-up dull Mann's country-tinged songs can be.
  7. Mann's signature wordplay sounds clichéd and exhausted, and her melodies lack the energy and pop sparkle that distinguished her pre-Lost In Space work.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. JoshH
    Jul 3, 2005
    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. Expand
  2. JohnB
    Sep 8, 2005
    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. Expand
  3. AustinA
    Nov 17, 2005
    In this story of agonizing love, Aimee Mann seems to lose focus on some songs yet the great ones make the album timeless.
  4. AlexP
    Jul 7, 2005
    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
  5. TimH
    Jan 8, 2006
    This album is still growing on me. Very very nice effort by Aimmee. Congrats
  6. SamD
    Nov 28, 2005
    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. Expand
  7. PaulJ
    May 26, 2005
    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. Expand

See all 20 User Reviews