It has been three years since Something Corporate’s Andrew McMahon has graced the charts with the first album from his solo project, Jack’s Mannequin. Touring and promotion of Everything in Transit was put on hold when McMahon was hospitalized for leukemia treatment shortly after recording it.
On September 30, he released his new album entitled The Glass Passenger, proving good things come to those who wait.
The Jack’s Mannequin staple is a catchy pop ballad driven by the force of McMahon on piano, but The Glass Passenger goes out of its way to emphasize the presence of a full band, with the occasional inclusion of a strings arrangement (“Bloodshot”). It’s obvious that McMahon was feeling musically ambitious with the album, but he didn’t stray far from his roots.
The album is still full of the same “Cali beach rock” anthems that gained original Mannequin fans and are sure to make new ones fall in love. “Crashing” and “Spinning” are the ultra pop kick anthems of the album, kicking it off as the kind of songs to add to your perfect summer playlist and blast from your car stereo as you drive down the highway, top down and arms up in the air.
McMahon extends his musical range with “Annie Use Your Telescope” and “Hammer and Strings (A Lullaby),” which take their place as the slow, somber pieces that give everyone a second just to slow down.
The important thing is not to go into The Glass Passenger expecting a concept album about fighting cancer. While the cocky “Resolution” boasts “I’m alive but I don’t need a witness to know that I survived,” “Caves” is the only song that attempts to shed direct light on McMahon’s hospital stay. “Passenger” is more about the bigger picture, a musical commentary on the battle to approach life with a sense of optimism.
There’s no self pity to be found on the Jack’s Mannequin sophomore effort and cancer isn’t a prerequisite to understanding, and loving, what McMahon is trying to do here.
The Glass Passenger is sure to delight old fans and give everyone else something they shouldn’t miss.
Clarification: Just to be clear, Everything in Transit was released in summer 2005 after Andrew McMahon was diagnosed with cancer in May 2005.