Mental Illness (album)

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Mental Illness
Aimee-Mann Mental Illness.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 31, 2017 (2017-03-31)
GenreFolk, rock[1]
ProducerPaul Bryan
Aimee Mann chronology
Mental Illness
Singles from Mental Illness
  1. "Goose Snow Cone"
    Released: January 17, 2017
  2. "Patient Zero"
    Released: March 8, 2017

Mental Illness is the ninth studio album by singer-songwriter Aimee Mann. It was released on March 31, 2017, by SuperEgo Records. Mann has described it as her "saddest, slowest and most acoustic" album to date.[1][2]


In an interview with Elle magazine, Mann said that the song "Goose Snow Cone" was inspired by a photo of a friend's cat which she received while on tour in Ireland.[3] The song "Patient Zero" was written following a meeting Mann and her husband, Michael Penn, had with actor Andrew Garfield.[3]

The album features contributions made by Ted Leo, who collaborated with Mann on their duo project, The Both.[4][5] Jonathan Coulton co-wrote "Patient Zero," "Good For Me," and "Rollercoasters" while The Long Winters' John Roderick co-wrote "Poor Judge." [6][7][8]

The bulk of album was recorded on Mann's record label, Superego, by Producer Paul Bryan at Mayberry PCH recording studio. The string arrangements were arranged and conducted by Paul Bryan, were recorded separately at United Recordings Los Angeles by Ryan Freeland.

In a March 30, 2017 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Mann noted that her manager had pressured her to create more uptempo music, but she resisted, explaining, "Because emotional honesty is uplifting, and it doesn't really matter what the emotion is. It's just uplifting, so that's how I approach it. Writing these songs is never depressing for me, and I don't think you can write out of a position of depression anyway."[9]


The first single from the album, "Goose Snow Cone", was released on January 17, 2017.[1][2][10] On March 27, 2017, Mann performed the song on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.[11]

A second single from the album entitled "Patient Zero" was released on March 8, 2017.[12][5] The music video features actors Bradley Whitford, Tim Heidecker and James Urbaniak.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

As opposed to her previous album, Charmer, which was defined as a "solid, punchy pop rock" album, Mental Illness consists of acoustic guitars, strings and percussion.[13] Ryan Bray from Consequence of Sound defined it as the musical "equivalent of washing your mouth out with soap" and stated that it "smacks of cold reality".[13]

Ryan Reed from Rolling Stone magazine described it as "sad and folky".[1] Katie Rife from The A.V. Club pointed out that Mental Illness is a continuation of Aimee Mann's historic tradition of chronicling life's disappointments, both simple and profound.[5] Mojo Magazine writer James McNair described it as "intimate and reflective" and said that it is "easy to get lost in".[14] Steve Horowitz of PopMatters magazine wrote that "Mann is our modern day Dory Previn, whose whip-smart sensibility suggests intelligence and mania at the same time."[15] Craig Dorfman of Paste magazine declared that "Mann has earned her reputation as a master songwriter".[16] Jon Pareles of The New York Times stated that on Mental Illness Mann is "Tunefully Tracing Elegant Despair".[17] Maura Johnston of The Boston Globe wrote that "Mann crafts a melancholic atmosphere that is worth repeated listens."[18] Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune declared it as one of Mann's "sparest, quietest albums and also among her most beautiful".[19] Allan Raible of ABC News articulated that this record is "firmly planted in mature soundscapes", that "you may find yourself getting lost in this album’s sonic textures" and that with Mental Illness "Aimee Mann continues to be one of the most gripping storytellers writing music today".[20] Dw. Dunphy of Popdose notes that, while the music in Mental Illness is gorgeous, this isn't a "feel good" album. But, for those in the right frame of mind, it's "a warm, plush comforter to crawl into when the self-pity stops working." [21]


Mann announced the tour, along with the album itself, on January 17, 2017.[4][22] The tour encompasses performances all around North America, featuring one show in Canada, the rest taking place in the US. The first tour date was April 20, 2017, and the last is a good two months later, on June 30, 2017.[23] Along with Mann herself, the tour features Jonathan Coulton on acoustic guitar, Jay Bellerose on drums, a string quartet, Jamie Edwards on piano, and Paul Bryan on bass while singing backup vocals. Many of the musicians who played on the album also joined Mann on the tour. (See Personnel).[24][25]

Awards & nominations[edit]

On January 28, 2018 the album won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album.[26]

Track listing[edit]

1."Goose Snow Cone"3:35
2."Stuck in the Past"3:33
3."You Never Loved Me"3:07
5."Lies of Summer"2:42
6."Patient Zero"3:41
7."Good for Me"4:09
8."Knock It Off"3:01
9."Philly Sinks"3:14
10."Simple Fix"4:12
11."Poor Judge"3:33
Total length:38:29

The Japanese edition of the album has an additional bonus track, "Throw You Over".


String Section[edit]

Quartet [8][edit]

Violins [8][edit]

Amy Wickman, Gina Kronstadt, Terry Glenny, Radu Piepta and Susan Chatman

Violas [8][edit]

Aaron Oltman and Rodney Wirtz

Cello [8][edit]

John Krovoza and Peggy Baldwin


Chart (2017) Peak
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[28] 112
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[29] 69
Irish Albums (IRMA)[30] 33
New Zealand Heatseekers Albums (RMNZ)[31] 6
Scottish Albums (OCC)[32] 36
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[33] 70
UK Albums (OCC)[34] 53
US Billboard 200[35] 54


  1. ^ a b c d Reed, Ryan (18 January 2017). "Aimee Mann Details Her 'Saddest, Slowest' New LP, 'Mental Illness'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Roberts, Randall (17 January 2017). "'The saddest, slowest, most acoustic' record: Aimee Mann announces a new album". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b Locker, Melissa (30 March 2017). "Aimee Mann Talks About Her New Album, Mental Illness". Elle magazine. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  4. ^ a b Yoo, Noah (17 January 2017). "Aimee Mann Announces Mental Illness, First New Album in Five Years". Pitchfork. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Rife, Katie (17 January 2017). "Aimee Mann is back and bummed out as ever on her new album Mental Illness". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  6. ^ Hirway, Hrisikesh (21 April 2017). "Episode 103 - Aimee Mann". Song Exploder. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  7. ^ Phillips, Lior (23 March 2017). "The Simple Fix: Aimee Mann on Laughing Through Melancholy". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Aimee Mann, “Mental Ilness,” record sleeve
  9. ^ Roberts, Randall. "Aimee Mann on how she allowed herself to 'roll around' in the biggest stereotype about her music". Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  10. ^ Aimee Mann - Goose Snow Cone (Official Audio) on YouTube
  11. ^ Aimee Mann Performs 'Goose Snow Cone' on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on YouTube
  12. ^ a b Aimee Mann - Patient Zero on YouTube
  13. ^ a b Bray, Ryan (21 March 2017). "Aimee Mann – Mental Illness". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  14. ^ McNair, James (23 March 2017). "Aimee Mann's Mental Illness Is MOJO's Album Of The Week". Mojo. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  15. ^ Horowitz, Steve (28 March 2017). "Aimee Mann - Mental Illness". Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  16. ^ Dorfman, Craig (28 March 2017). "Aimee Mann: Mental Illness Review". Paste magazine. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  17. ^ PARELES, JON (29 March 2017). "Aimee Mann Traces Elegant Despair on 'Mental Illness'". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  18. ^ Johnston, Maura (30 March 2017). "From Aimee Mann, laments with a lilt". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  19. ^ Kot, Greg (31 March 2017). "Aimee Mann's crazy, beautiful songs on 'Mental Illness'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  20. ^ RAIBLE, ALLAN (6 April 2017). "Bob Dylan, Aimee Mann, Nelly Furtado and more music reviews". ABC News. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  21. ^ "Album Review: Aimee Mann, "Mental Illness"". Popdose. 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  22. ^ "Aimee Mann Details Her 'Saddest, Slowest' New LP, 'Mental Illness'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  23. ^ "Aimee Mann Tour Listing". Aimee Mann. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  24. ^ "Aimee Mann". The Town Hall. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  25. ^ Aimee Mann, live at Town Hall, New York, New York, 4/22/2017
  26. ^ "60th GRAMMY Awards: Full Nominees List". November 28, 2017. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  27. ^ "Aimee Mann's Highly Anticipated New Album 'Mental Illness' Out 3/31". Broadway World. 28 February 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  28. ^ " – Aimee Mann – Mental Illness" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  29. ^ " – Aimee Mann – Mental Illness" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  30. ^ "Irish Albums Chart: 7 April 2017". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  31. ^ "NZ Heatseekers Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. April 10, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  32. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  33. ^ " – Aimee Mann – Mental Illness". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  34. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  35. ^ "Aimee Mann Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved April 11, 2017.

External links[edit]