Tuesday, March 5, 2013

'Til Tuesday - Coming Up Close

While 'Til Tuesday started out as a new wave band, they quickly evolved into folk-rock artists, shaped by the strong songwriting of bassist/lead singer Aimee Mann.  As many readers will know, the band is best known for their 1985 hit "Voices Carry," and is often (incorrectly) though of as a one hit wonder.  In fact, they had two top 40 hits (1986's "What About Love" being the second) and three additional top 100 songs, including "Coming Up Close."

'Til Tuesday formed in Boston in 1982, and started to really gain traction when they won the WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble in 1983. [WBCN was the major rock station in Boston, and the Rock & Roll Rumble was essentially a battle of the bands.]  This led to a recording contract with Epic and the band's debut album, 1985's Voices Carry, became a top 20 album, while the eponymous single broke the top 10.

From there, the band's success steadily waned, primarily due to their musical shift to a more folk-driven sound.  Interestingly, critics were generally supportive of the new direction, something that has followed Aimee Mann throughout her career.  The band's second LP, 1986's Welcome Home peaked at #49 and their 1988 album, Everything's Different Now topped out at #124.  The band broke up soon afterwards, although Aimee Mann has remained active as an independent musician, releasing critically acclaimed albums that sell well, but do not break the top 30.

"Coming Up Close" is a gently sad song that foreshadows the future direction of Mann and 'Til Tuesday.  The video is a simple performance piece that allows the listener to focus on the music, something that I suspect was intentional.  And with all due respect to "Voices Carry," I believe that "Coming Up Close" is the strongest song that 'Til Tuesday recorded.

Cool trivia fact:  As long time readers and music aficionados will know, Aimee Mann is married to Michael Penn ("No Myth"), who was featured on ERV in November 2012.  The "No Myth" post also discusses the dreaded Best New Artist curse (not to be confused with the Dread Pirate Roberts).

Cool trivia fact #2:  At the 1983 WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble, Digney Fignus (featured on ERV in August, 2011 and well worth checking out) was a semi-finalist.

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