Ask Billboard: Madonna: the Material 'Woman'?
Aimee Mann, Jon Hamm Channel 'Til Tuesday In New 'Labrador' Video

Ask Billboard is updated every week. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.

'EVERYTHING' YOU NEED TO KNOW

Hey Gary,

How cool is it that your favorite album is 'Til Tuesday's "Everything's Different Now." It's one of my faves, too. I like it much more, track-for-track, than their previous albums that actually produced hits. Other favorite albums from that era, and from all-time (I still listen often), include Tears for Fears' "The Hurting" and Icehouse's (sorely underrated in the U.S.) "A Man of Colors."

(Oh, as for the Madonna discussion, it's a crime that "Masterpiece" isn't a hit. Absolutely gorgeous song. Her best ballad since "This Used to Be My Playground." Then again, my favorite Madonna track of all time is "Oh Father." How many people say that?)

Pat Thomas
Sparks, Nevada

Hi Pat,

What good taste you have in music! Most people surely think of "Voices Carry" when thinking of 'Til Tuesday, and with good reason, as the song rose to No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1985.

But, the group's third album, "Everything's Different Now," marked an astronomical artistic leap forward, although seeds of the set's folk/rock tendencies had first been sown (to tie in a Tears for Fears reference) in the band's sophomore 1987 release "Welcome Home," which yielded the No. 26-peaking "What About Love." Collaborators on "Everything's" include Matthew Sweet, Jules Shear and Elvis Costello, the latter of whom co-wrote and sings on "The Other End (Of the Telescope)," which Costello himself later recorded.

Sadly, "Everything's" peaked at only No. 124 on the Billboard 200. First single "(Believed You Were) Lucky" spent three weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at No. 95 in early 1989.

I even remember hearing the song on then-WVBF (105.7) Boston and a bemused, and impressed, DJ noting how few pop hits (it did reach No. 32 on Adult Contemporary) sport the word "acquiesce."

Following 'Til Tuesday's early '90s breakup, lead singer Aimee Mann has become a renowned and accomplished solo singer/songwriter, earning an Oscar nomination for her song "Save Me" from the film "Magnolia." Phil Collins' "Tarzan" theme "You'll Be in My Heart" won for that year (1999), prompting Mann often to joke in concert that she can't believe that her track lost to Collins' "monkey love song." She's also made a hilarious guest appearance, with Sarah McLachlan, on IFC's "Portlandia."

One of Mann's latest honors? Playing New York's Carnegie Hall earlier this year. Not bad for an artist likely best-known for one top 10 hit 27 years earlier.