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I have done my best to keep my politics and my platform as an entertainer separate. Honestly, it’s something I struggle with daily, but I hold that line out of respect for my fans and out of disgust for the state of American politics. I believe that today’s hyper-politicized world is a serious distortion of reality. I believe that neighbors who disagree with one another have the capacity to find common ground and regularly do. I believe the politicians we elect to represent us and the diversity of our opinions and lifestyles, are failing us by not seeking that common ground. I’ve chosen to stay publicly apolitical because there are few spaces left that have not been politicized. I have immense respect for those who use their platforms to rally people to that which they believe is right and true. Still, I feel in this climate, my greatest contribution could be to remind people as they stand side by side in a live music venue that we are not as different as our televisions and our political leaders would like us to believe. With this in mind I would appreciate it if politicians and representatives of political parties would refrain from the public use of my music as KellyAnne Conway and the GOP did today at their CPAC convention. My music is about uniting people through our common experience and is not intended as hype tracks for political dog and pony shows.
We’ve been giving Andrew McMahon a lot of love this week, all in honor of his brand new album, Zombies on Broadway. On Monday, we published an interview with him and yesterday, we reviewed the new record. Today, we’re attempting the impossible: distilling McMahon’s impressive 15-year career into one ultimate concert setlist.
For this playlist, I mostly adhered to the rules established last year in Craig Ismaili’s Ultimate Jimmy Eat World Setlist: 20 songs for the main set, two songs for the encore, and a mix of tunes that includes both hits and career-best songs. I did, however, dispense with Craig’s 80-minute rule, simply because that would mean burning one-eighth of the set on “Konstantine.”
Andrew McMahon is an artist who has had a very loyal and passionate following for a very long time. Starting with Something Corporate, which offered a piano-led twist on the emo/pop-punk trends of the early 2000s, McMahon has been regarded as a master of melody and a writer capable of churning out fiercely relatable songs. Suffice to say that BuzzFeed hit the nail on the head (for the first and last time) when it labeled “Konstantine” as the emo “Freebird.” When McMahon transitioned his career from Something Corporate into the poppier and more mature Jack’s Mannequin, it was a testament to his talent as a songwriter, his likability as a performer, and the strong personal resonance of his work that just about all of his fans were willing to go along for the ride.
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness will release their sophomore LP, Zombies on Broadway, later this week. I spoke with McMahon on the phone about the new record’s pop-leaning direction, his ever-evolving sound, the way family has defined his last few albums, and whether or not he’d ever consider writing a memoir. We also spoke briefly about next year’s 10-year anniversary of Jack’s Mannequin’s The Glass Passenger and whether or not fans can expect any special tours or reissues to mark the occasion.
I wrote this album in the middle of a whirlwind, when the future was unclear. Isn’t it always? I found my way to the city, thinking I could settle a score with a ghost. You can’t, so I came home and rewrote the ending. I’m proud announce my new album, “Zombies on Broadway,” is coming on February 10th. I spent more than a year hoping to find new answers to old questions. What I found; I have always been two people; One in search of peace and the other in search of whatever makes my hair stand up and my heart beat faster. This record is mostly about the latter. You’ll be able to pre-order the album starting next Friday, November 18th through my webstore and digitally on all your favorite outlets. A new song “Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me” will also be released alongside the pre-order.
“I finally got together with this production team in New York downtown that I’ve just been so psyched on working with that I said, ‘I’m gonna do my New York record,'” says McMahon, who recorded all his previous albums on the West Coast. “I don’t want to scare anybody, but it’s pop.”