Aimee Mann churns out astonishingly hooky riffs in this start-to-finish gem. Between her droning, too-cool voice and her quietly brilliant lyrics, Mann's distinct voice is firmly planted in the driver's seat of this album. A talented lyricist as well as guitarist, Aimee Mann has accrued wide-ranging appeal with her cerebral lyrics and humorous tone. You'll sink into the melodies of I'm With Stupid like a comfortable couch, and her outstanding rhymes will compel you to check out more of her stuff. The opener, Long Shot, is impossible not to love, and it's a nice ride from there. Anyone who was an angsty teen in the 90s will remember track 4, You Could Make a Killing, from a particularly existential moment in the movie Cruel Intentions, but it's track 10, "That's Just What You Are" that rules the show. The song will speak to anyone who broke up with a narcissistic ex. Her backbeat-heavy jams are great for driving and studying. Put on your belly shirt and get those butterfly clips in your hair, and relive the 90s with this classic.
From the opening of "Long Shot," with its rolling hip-hop-derived beat and its nonchalant profanity, it's clear that Aimee Mann is trying to appeal to a wider audience with her second solo album, I'm With Stupid. Taking her cues from Liz Phair and Beck, she adds alternative rock flourishes to her music but never abandons her love of the basic, three-minute pop single. Mann builds from the more pop-oriented songs on Whatever, incorporating her confessional singer/songwriter instincts into the pop songs while working with a more adventerous production and instrumentation. Occasionally, the fusion is a bit awkward, but the best moments on I'm With Stupid -- the sighing "Choice in the Matter," the nearly perfect "That's Just What You Are," featuring backing vocals by Glenn Tilbrook, and the Bernard Butler collaboration "Sugarcoated" -- surpass even the best moments on Whatever. However, I'm With Stupid falls short of matching Mann's debut for consistent song quality -- there are several tracks that are pleasant but simply don't lead anywhere. Nevertheless, the album confirms that she is a distinctive, talented songwriter. At her best, she is as capable of melding melody with intelligent lyrics as her idols Elvis Costello, Difford/Tilbrook, and Ray Davies. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi