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Jack's Mannequin - The Glass Passenger
It feels like a CD for the fall season and a few midweek TV dramas.
Release Date: September 30, 2008
Jack’s Mannequin is the new incarnation of Andrew McMahon, who also leads the now on hiatus Something Corporate. You may remember them from such songs as “If U C Jordan” and “Space.” He began writing songs that didn’t fit Something Corporate, was diagnosed with Leukemia, released the first album, got back on his feet, and has come around to putting out another album, The Glass Passenger.
I don’t have the first Jack’s Mannequin album, but he has an interesting story and I caught the video for the first single, “The Resolution.” At first, the video made me chuckle because of up close shots like the one below. But by the end I liked the single enough to wander over to the myspace page and figured it would be the one thing I buy this weekend.
A brief note about the cover art: this album has singer/songwriter written all over it. The slab serif font is reminiscent of Clarendon, and it conjures the feeling that this, this my friends is a serious work because of aforementioned font and 70’s toned picture. A picture that brings this to mind.
Design-wise, it’s well composed, but I feel it’s a little overwrought.
Design critique aside, this album seems lighter than the cover and his past would indicate; there’s a lot of lush, California-feeling sound all over this record. “Crashin” launches the CD and “Spinning” keeps the tempo going. “Swim” fits the tone of album cover, and while it’s supposed to be uplifting I feel like it’s plodding. The metaphor is just too easy and it could be interchanged with several other words like “Try,” “Drive,” or any other action verb, just tack on a few metaphors for emphasis. “The Resolution” is a better song and direction than what’s he’s trying to say with “Swim.”
Other notable tracks include “American Love,” “Annie Use Your Telescope,” and the intriguing “Caves.” It’s a two part song with the slow pull of the piano and some grand melody lines that feels almost Queen-esque at times with a tinge of how Jeff Buckley would drag out parts of certain compositions [Note: I am not saying Andrew McMahon is the next Buckley, just that some of the composition reminds me of things Buckley would do. Stay calm Buck Heads, stay calm.]. It launches into a rock number for the second half and it’s not my favorite track, but I like the different things he attempts in the song.
The Glass Passenger has some great moments on it. It feels like a CD for the fall season and a few midweek TV dramas. There are your feel good tunes, a track or two you’ll skip, and something to admire about the completion of this disc.
This is the soundtrack to: drives up the California shoreline, drives across the cooling New England fall, and the entire contingent of people who really like the work of Andrew McMahon.
Rock that piano!