When in doubt, blame it on the @#%&*! SMILERS

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/03/09 09:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2008/03/09/8116053.aspx

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Aimee Mann's upcoming album, titled @#%&*! Smilers, is due in stores on June 3rd.

We'll see if the spam filters catch that as a curse word (like I mentioned happens previously).

Now mind you the original announcement was for a title of Fucking Smilers, so the use of @#%&*! is a clever way around the usual freakishness of explicit album titles. :-)

And then of course there is the whole thing with curse words in album title, song titles, and songs (discussed here and here).

The source of the title was discussed in a DCist interview recently, excerpted here:

    Your last full album of original material was The Forgotten Arm in 2005. That one was something different for you: a narrative song-cycle about a boxer who falls in love right before he gets shipped off to fight in Vietnam. Does the new record, Smilers, have a storyline?

No. With Smilers, the “concept” is really just to have each song be as different as it wants to be, and not worry about any kind of through-line. The through-line is really just the vibe of the instrumentation and the production and the musicians. We recorded it pretty much live. We did some rehearsing to figure out what we wanted to do with arrangements and stuff. But aside from the string sections and horn sections that are on a couple of songs, we did it live in the studio. One or two takes.

    Is there any particular significance to the the title?

I got to the title this really weird, long way ‘round. The first thing that made me think of it was, I’d read this article about some study somebody did about the kinds of images people respond to. Most people respond to human faces. But apparently, across cultural lines, everybody responds most positively to a smiling cartoon face. I though that was really funny, so of course I felt like, “Well, I’ve got to have a smiling cartoon face on my record. Clearly!”

But then that got me thinking about this newsgroup that existed a long time ago, when I first got a computer. Me and this friend of mine would go on a newsgroup called alt.bitter, and it was all people who were, like, bitter about stuff.

    That’s exactly the sort of web site some people probably imagine Aimee Mann reading.

It wasn’t a website. This was before the Web. It was just a newsgroup, a text-only thing. But people would talk about stuff that made them feel bitter. I just thought that was so funny. And one of the threads was called “fucking smilers.” It was people who were irritated at other people for telling them to smile.

So me and this friend of mine used to always call those people “fucking smilers.” You know those people who come up to you in the hall when you’re at work and go, “Smile! It can’t be that bad!” And you’re like, “How do you know? It could be that bad.”

    “Somebody’s got a case of the Mondays.”

Yeah, exactly. So those two things together . . . I just had that phrase in my head, “fucking Smilers.” I thought it was funny. So that’s how it got to be the title.

Also, I sort of relate to it, because if you’re a singer-songwriter like me, who tends toward the melancholy, there’s always this sort of implied “smilers” thing that comes towards you. like, “Come on! Write something more cheerful!” So I just like that term. In my vocabulary it’s become kind of a general term for certain kinds of people

Anyway, just thought I'd mention it in case any fans were lurking around these parts (I haven't written much about her lately since she hasn't been back to Seattle in ages!).

There is some artwork floating around:

So when in doubt, blame it on the @#%&*!Fucking SMILERS!

In unrelated news, I watched Vampire Weekend perform on Saturday Night Live last night, and I suppose I am regretting a little bit that I gave away the Seattle show tickets I was given (and that I didn't take the San Francisco ones). Ah well, they didn't cost me anything, so I guess I can't complain too much! :-)

In even less related news, Cleveland got like a foot of snow this weekend. I can't tell you how happy I am to not be living in a place that can see that much snow any time of year. Let alone in March....


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John Cowan on 9 Mar 2008 11:00 PM:

Lake effect.  You live eastward of a lake in snow country, you get used to it.  And anyhow, Cleveland is nothing compared to Buffalo.

Michael S. Kaplan on 9 Mar 2008 11:40 PM:

I lived there nine years while growing up, in a suburb that had such good plow service that we almost never got snow days even when it did snow that much. I never got used to it....

I wouldn't live in Buffalo either! :-)

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2008/05/29 Rhapsody, iTunes, Zune & some @#%&*! smiles about @#%&*! Smilers :-)

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