I sincerely hope you’ve heard of the band Jack’s Mannequin. And if not, at least say you’ve heard of Something Corporate, the lead singer’s first musical venture. If you’re still drawing a blank, then listen up!
Jack’s Mannequin originally started out as a side project for Something Corporate frontman, Andrew McMahon. With Corporate’s inevitable demise, he turned and focused all his energy into Jack’s Mannequin, and boy am I thankful for that.
The band recorded their first album “Everything in Transit,” and McMahon shocked everyone with his diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (read: CANCER) on the very day they mastered the last track. Thankfully, he is now in remission and Jack’s has a new album entitled “The Glass Passenger”!
The first single off the album, “The Resolution”, is typical Andrew McMahon. Swirling pianos and hopeful vocals carry this track. The chorus “Yeah I’m alive/I don’t need a witness/To know that I survived” perfectly conveys the spirit of this cancer survivor. The meaning isn’t clouded by unnecessary metaphors and cryptic lyrics and leaves the listener feeling inspired. It’s a great choice for a single.
“Swim” is another standout track, with the same motivating messages. Andrew has even said himself that it seems that his music always has a theme of overcoming obstacles and “Swim” continues this pattern. I particularly like the line “You gotta swim/Swim when it hurts“, another possible to reference to his battle with cancer.
The true beauty of his songs are that they’re so relatable. McMahon never specifies the battles or obstacles he’s overcoming, leaving the songs up for interpretation by his audience. You could use these inspiring songs of Andrew’s as theme songs for any disease or really any barrier in life.
One song that veers slightly from this path is “Hammer and Strings (A Lullaby)”. It’s a haunting song, with scarce piano and Andrew’s signature vocals. It tells the story of his friend calling him up asking for him to give her “Something to believe in”. Since most of the songs are so general, I really enjoyed the specificity of this track. The friend says “Just promise you won’t let it be/ Just the keys that you touch“, which I think is the most beautiful lyric on the album. The friend is referring to her heart and I can vouch that this song touched mine.
Finally, there is a bonus track. “Miss California” is a modern love song, upbeat in tempo. McMahon fantasizes about kidnapping a girl he dubs Miss California, sweeping her away and living just the two of them, forever. It’s quite a departure for the band, again telling a specific story with, I daresay, somewhat creepy lyrics. If you can get past the kidnapping aspect and attribute it to a fantasy instead of a plot, the song really takes off.
Bottom line, “The Glass Passenger” by Jack’s Mannequin does not disappoint. With their unique breed of piano-rock, Jack’s continues to dig their niche among the indie community and I bet it’s only a matter of time before they take off into the mainstream.
Make it your “Resolution” to pick up the album today!