Now that she's done battling labels, the source of endless subject matter on albums two and three (at least) and proprietor of her own, what's left for Mann to handle? Addiction, as it turns out -- physical and emotional, detrimental and beneficial, literal and metaphorical and everything in between. "Let me be your heroin," she sings while "High on Sunday 51," and as a come-on it's almost a turn-off, which might be the point; when one partner begins to beg another for a fix of anything, it's surely a sign of unhealthy codependence and a sign to split. The whole record's like that, in fact: sad as hell, a pop-orchestral downer that's doomed and defeated and unabashedly proud of being shamed and ashamed. "I'm not the girl you once put your faith in/Just someone who looks like me," she sings by way of introduction; later, she's singing about "Guys Like Me" whom girls are better off hating. Take heed, then, when she insists, "Get out while you can." But who can move when the groove's so dreary and despondent, when it's one song after another about rejection without pop music's dopey and unlikely curative, redemption? This is bleak, but never weak, stuff -- the sound of someone lost not in space but inside her own broken heart and busted head.
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