- Released: June 2, 2008
- Label: Superego Records
Spin - p.1124 stars out of 5
-- "[A] nuanced collection of mid-tempo '70s-pop-referencing tunes..."
Entertainment Weekly - p.71
"[The album] draws attention to her lost-soul narratives....Her yarns prove just as lovely as they are doleful."
Q (Magazine) - p.1394 stars out of 5
-- "[The] quality levels remain uniformly high....Mann's voice is as appealing as warm honey, her songs smart and pithy."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.65Ranked #43
in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2008" -- "[A]n eerily melancholy set of cautionary fairy tales..."
Blender (Magazine) - p.883.5 stars out of 5
-- "[E]very song is a frippery-free guitar-bass-drums concoction graced with mournful melodies, and Mann's Raymond Carver-esque detailing..."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.993 stars out of 5
-- "Mann is as literate as ever, a lyricist who takes great joy in language....Acoustic guitars, primitive organs and synths dominate the music, most effectively on 'Great Beyond' and 'Columbus Avenue'..."
- 2.Stranger Into Starman
- 3.Looking For Nothing
- 5.Borrowing Time
- 6.It's Over
- 7.31 Today
- 8.The Great Beyond
- 9.Medicine Wheel
- 10.Columbus Avenue
- 11.Little Tornado
- 12.True Believer
Personnel: Aimee Mann (guitars, acoustic guitar, acoustic bass); Chris Bruce (guitar); Alyssa Park, Marisa Kuney, Amy Wickman, Terry Glenny, Eric Gorfain, Daphne Chen, Melissa Reiner (violin); Caroline Buckman, David Sage, Leah Katz (viola); Alan Matthews, Richard Dodd (cello); Willie Murillo (trumpet); Jason Thor (trombone, bass trombone); Jamie Edwards (keyboards); Paul Bryan (bass instrument, background vocals); Jay Bellerose (drums); Kimon Kirk, Buddy Judge (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Ryan Freeland.
Recording information: Henson Recording, Hollywood, CA; The Sound Factory, Los Angeles, CA.
Illustrator: Gary Taxali.
With SMILERS, the woman who came in on the crest of the New Wave with 'Til Tuesday in the 1980s and helped make power pop cool as a solo artist in the '90s, moves one step away from her overt pop tendencies towards a more '70s singer/songwriter sound. While there are plenty of elegantly unfurled melodies and carefully constructed tunes here, these songs are less centered on hooks and snappy guitar riffs, and lean more towards a reflective, acoustic-based approach. Tunes like the sunny, synth-laced opener, "Freeway," will slake longtime Aimee Mann fans' pop thirst somewhat, but a 47-year-old troubadour sometimes has more in mind than a catchy refrain, as the soul-searching likes of "Thirty One Today" (which admittedly also sports some snazzy synth) and the almost Elton John-ish piano ballad, "Medicine Wheel," make clear.