Sunday, November 2, 2008

Jack's Mannequin - The Glass Passenger

Andrew McMahon has yet again come through. Alternative Press hailed this record as the number one most highly anticipated release of the year and no one can deny their anticipation was warranted. A few years ago the future of Jack’s Mannequin was placed into question as front man Andrew McMahon faced his hardest battle yet, leukemia. After bravely fighting back, this man who seemingly lives for music, as the tattoo on his forearm suggests, has jumped with both feet back into the game. He has produced a record that both addresses his battles, and at the same time helps him exorcise those demons and move past them.
He has quite publicly proclaimed that he didn’t want this to be the “leukemia album”, and it isn’t. In fact, if you are not familiar with the history involved you are unlikely to make the connections. However, for those fans who were there in the trenches of the fight, sending him cards, letters and prayers for recovery, as well as taking an active role in fundraising for leukemia charities, the poignancy of a few of the songs are sure to make for some tears. This is a songwriter and front man who we’ve all watched grow from a teenager, fronting Something Corporate, to a grown man with a wife and a lot of battle scars behind him, singing about “….the music that saves you, when you’re not so sure you’ll survive.” He has not only survived, but produced unquestionably the best album of the year.
There are things about this album that are definitely different. Yes, his voice does sound slightly different. Try battling a life threatening illness and not coming out the other side a bit changed. Yes, many of these songs are not typical Something Corporate songs, but then that was part of the reason he established Jack’s Mannequin. Yes, the style is different from the heavily Beach Boys influenced sound of Everything in Transit. This is not a sunny, summer record the way the first release was. This is a record that documents his journey to hell and back. It was going to be different, that was easily predicted. The Glass Passenger shows a maturing singer/songwriter at the top of his game, a game we are all insanely happy did not end too soon. I can’t recommend highly enough that you purchase this disc in it’s entirety as opposed to an individual song or two in online format. This is an album, in the truest sense, and should be experienced as such. This is a cd that has legs, and will remain a part of active rotation in your collection forever. Andrew McMahon continues to prove himself to be one of the premier singer/songwriters of his generation.