Pathos: noun a quality that evokes pity or sadness – ORIGIN Greek, ‘suffering’.
So that’s today’s memory lane
With all the pathos and pain
Another chapter in a book where the chapters are endless
And they’re always the same
A verse, then a verse, and refrain
– Aimee Mann, ‘4th of July’
The first solo album by Aimee Mann, the singer of 80s pop group ‘Til Tuesday, was a burst of tuneful and knowing guitar pop from an artist who would go on to craft a series of quality releases and be nominated for an Oscar for her songwriting for the film Magnolia. The album Whatever, released in 1993, contained the wistful ‘4th of July’, with its elegant verses displaying Mann’s deft lyricism to good effect. This track impressed Elvis Costello so much that he raved to Q Magazine about it, burnishing Mann’s strong reputation in Britain. It was certainly a treat to see her perform in London with support from Jenny Owen Youngs in July 2007.
Here’s a live performance of the song from the Jools Holland archive: