Aimee Mann, One More Drifter in the Snow

Lindsey Thomas

By Lindsey Thomas

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
An appropriately introspective holiday album.

Even among earnest singer-songwriters, Aimee Mann stands out for her unflappable solemnity. So it comes as no surprise that this woman who rarely cracks a smile has produced a Christmas album that sets the mood for post-holiday-gorge loafing, not a drunken office party. Fortunately, Mann knows how to choose classics that work with her natural aesthetic. When it comes time to liven things up with a Yuletide cartoon anthem, she opts for one that's serious but fun, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," with Grant-Lee Phillips taking over Boris Karloff's narrating duties. In addition to the standards, One More Drifter in the Snow features "Christmastime," a song written by husband Michael Penn and frequent collaborator Jon Brion, which enters on a light-hearted mandola strum and quickly takes a slinking, minor-keyed turn. The singer's own "Calling on Mary" is a somber bit of introspection, the sort of brooding that naturally occurs every December, but which most carol composers choose to ignore.