It’s impossible for performers to be the same people onstage as they are at home. If you’re “on” all the time, the people around you will start to find you unbearable pretty quickly. In her latest video, Aimee Mann uses a funny, apt metaphorical scenario to bring this separation of personalities to (artificial) life.
Directed by Tom Scharpling, Mann’s video for the song “Charmer” begins with the artist having lunch with John Hodgman. After Mann mentions that the grind of touring tends to wear her down, Hodgman (whose latest book trailer Scharpling also directed) reveals that on his last book tour, he sent out a robot replica of himself and stayed at home. Taking this advice to heart, Mann also orders a robot and soon finds a cardboard box at her doorstop, filled with Academy Award-nominated actress Laura Linney. The Mann-doppelganger is eager to learn how to be Mann on tour; so much so that she might be better at it than the artist herself.
The lyrics of “Charmer,” the first single from Mann’s forthcoming same-titled album, similarly reflect on fame and having multiple personalities for the sake of performance. “When you’re a charmer, the world applauds,” the song goes. “They don’t know that, secretly, charmers feel like they’re frauds.” Or robots played by Laura Linney.