Review: Jack’s Mannequin – The Glass Passenger

“Even if your voice comes back again/Maybe there’ll be no one listening.”

The morning I climbed into my car to drive myself to the first day of my last year of high school, those lyrics punched me straight in the gut. I was reeling from a broken heart, given to me by a girl who’d occupied my mind all summer long. A few months earlier, she would have been walking the same high school halls that I was driving toward that morning. But she’d graduated and was now two hours south, probably waking up for her first day of college classes. Things hadn’t worked out between us, and if I’d been smart, I would have realized three months earlier that they were never going to. I didn’t, and now I was nursing a few fresh wounds and the prospect of facing down one last year of high school without her and without all the other friends who had left this town behind. “Crashin” was the song playing on the stereo, but it was a line from Andrew McMahon’s previous album that might have been most appropriate: “Hold on/It’s gonna be a hard day.”

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The Ultimate Andrew McMahon Setlist

Andrew McMahon

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.”

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Interview: Andrew McMahon

Andrew McMahon

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.

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Review: Jack’s Mannequin – Everything in Transit

Jacks Mannequin - Everything in Transit

It’s late April 2010, but the weather is so glorious outside that it feels like it’s already June. Rain was threatening earlier, but now, the sun is beating down overhead as I pack the final items into my car for the three-hour journey home. I’ve just finished my freshman year of college and closed out a great semester, and my roommate and I are saying our goodbyes in the parking lot of our dormitory, after having handed over the keys to the room we’d shared since September. It’s a bittersweet moment, but I’m happy to be headed home to the resort town where I grew up for some much needed vacation. I climb into the front seat of my ’98 Honda Civic, plug my iPod into the FM transmitter, and briefly debate which album to choose. I smile as my thumb finds Jack’s Mannequinʼs Everything in Transit — one of my favorite albums of all time, and a record that has been my definitive “summer soundtrack” since I first discovered it four years earlier. I press play and the sounds of “Holiday from Real” come coursing through my speakers. “Fuck yeah, we can live like this,” Andrew McMahon sings. I put on my aviators, shift the car into first gear, and drive. This is going to be the perfect summer, I think to myself as I pull away from my first year of college. I can feel it.

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Review: Jack’s Mannequin – The Glass Passenger

When I read or hear about cancer survivors, they’ll sometimes describe how experiencing and overcoming cancer gave them a new sense of appreciation for life and how they carry on from day to day. After listening to The Glass Passenger, you can sense Jack’s Mannequin brain trust Andrew McMahon has developed an even deeper appreciation, as each track is lively and spirited. 

McMahon’s battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia has been well documented, so I won’t get into the details, but we’ve seen the photos and heard the stories: McMahon wasn’t going to let this thing beat him, and you can hear vibrant energy and beautiful compositions throughout The Glass Passenger, an album bursting with diversity. 

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Interview: Andrew McMahon of Jack’s Mannequin

Andrew Mcmahon

In early December of 2007, I went into the studio with Andrew McMahon in Santa Monica when he was finishing up the new Jack’s Mannequin record. We originally shot a video of the interview, which you can watch here,1 but I’ve also transcribed the full text of the interview since many of the questions were left out or edited in the original video.

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  1. We no longer have this footage.

Review: Jack’s Mannequin – Everything in Transit

Jacks Mannequin - Everything in Transit

“She thinks I’m much too thin, she asks me if I’m sick”

The opening lines of Jack’s Mannequin’s debut album Everything in Transit, Something Corporate singer/pianist Andrew McMahon’s side project, remind us all too well of Andrew’s recent struggles with leukemia. Written before his diagnosis, the lines turned out to be eerily prescient of his coming sickness. Though he appears to be making a speedy and full recovery thus far (let’s hope there’s no relapse), the sheer idea that we might have lost Andrew is downright heartbreaking and upsetting. It seems, unfortunately, that only when we lose, or are about to lose, someone that we truly appreciate them and all that they have to offer. Let us be thankful then, now and forever, for the breathtaking music that Andrew has given us and will continue to make. Let us never forget how truly fortunate we are to have Andrew with us.

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Interview: Andrew McMahon of Jack’s Mannequin

Andrew McMahon

So, you are in a few bands (Something Corporate/Jack’s Mannequin). How did you first start getting involved in music?

Since I was little I was always fascinated by music. Whether I could play or not, I would grab every musical instrument I could get my hands on. Eventually around the age of nine on the heels of my uncle passing away, I found myself at the family piano, writing my first song. From there I never stopped and spend most of my time thinking about music and those rare perfect songs.

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