Song of the Day, April 3: Pay For It by the Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo)

TheBothToday’s song is a brilliant alt-pop collaboration. Aimee Mann rose to prominence in the new wave band ’til tuesday, then launched an acclaimed solo career noted for her smart lyrics and creative independence. Ted Leo has blazed a trail of solid guitar work and rugged vocals in a variety of post-punk and alt-rock bands including his primary unit, the Pharmacists. They met in Milwaukee when Leo was opening for Mann and discovered a highly sympathetic approach to crafting songs.

After a year of touring and writing together, they released an album as The Both (originally named with the hashtag #Both). The partnership gave both performers a real shot in the arm. Leo contributes a welcome energy to Mann’s smart but often too subdued pop while she helps focus his sometimes manic energy. The result is a fun album that shows off both partners’ talents to their best advantage.

The highlight is Pay For It, a bitter, clever alt track that finds the pair trading vocals seamlessly around a tight chorus harmony. Personal politics feature strongly in both artists’ catalogs, and this distills frustration into a perfect package, complete with lyrical realism and fun details. With the Both, the whole is far more than the sum of Aimee plus Ted.

Enjoy this delightful track today.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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