Aimee Mann Marks An Awkward Milestone

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  • Song: "Thirty One Today"
  • Artist: Aimee Mann
  • CD: @#%&*! Smilers
  • Genre: Pop
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Aimee Mann invests a seemingly mundane birthday with the weight of dashed hopes. courtesy of Aimee Mann hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of Aimee Mann

Date aside, the day that Aimee Mann endures on "Thirty One Today" should have no particular weight to it. Compared to crossing over into a new decade, or even hitting a halfway point like 35, turning 31 isn't much of a milestone. And that's how it plays out, as Mann drinks a lonely Guinness while it's still light out and awkwardly hooks up with a male acquaintance when it's not.

Then she hits the chorus and crumbles into a full breakdown. "I thought my life would be different somehow / I thought my life would be better by now," Mann sings, wrenching the subtext to the fore. But even that admission pales next to the bleak clarity of the line that follows: "But it's not, and I don't know where to turn." She's helpless — and, worse still, she knows it, looking for answers and finding none available.

The music carries on under its own rhythmic momentum regardless, time passing apathetic to the fact that each bass thump, synth warble, and subdued beat moves the singer further and further from the person she once thought she could have become. Instead, she's just killing time until she can make it to 32.

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This story originally ran on June 6, 2008.

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