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Released: Aug 23, 2005
Styles: Singer/Songwriter, Pop Underground, Alternative Country-Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Number Of Tracks: 13
It's a conceptual power pop album, delivered by an emo songwriter, backed by an aging metalhead, and co-produced by a guy who gave Hoobastank hits.
Everything In Transit
UG Team, on september 08, 2005 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: Jack's Mannequin is a side project of Andrew McMahon, who is already famous with his band Something Corporate. Adorable McMahon, whom MTV called "the good-looking, shaggy-haired, thick-framed-glasses-wearing frontman," decided to take a break from a band with which he's practically lived for the last four years and launch a solo project, releasing a debut album "Everything In Transit" last week. Working on the album, he listened to a lot of Beatles, Beach Boys, Tom Petty and Bob Dylon and that inspired him to make the record "a little more laid back" than Something Corporate. As frontman sees the record himself -- "It's a very pop record - the Beach Boys with my voice, in a sense." Besides McMahon, who brought his signature piano and distinctive tenor to the project, Jack Mannequin also includes Bobby (Raw) Anderson on guitar, and Patrick Warren (who's worked with Fiona Apple, Macy Gray and Jon Brion) with organ, strings and arrangements. Plus Motley Crue's Tommy Lee on drums to complete samples by CJ Eiriksson. "Everything In Transit" was produced by McMahon and Jim Wirt, Something Corporate's producer.
Most of the songs on "Everything In Transit" are strongly piano-centered and has a lot of guitar interludes, reminding us how awesome rock may sound with an addition of beautiful piano melodies. The idea of having a rock drummer like Tommy Lee in this kind of a band may seem weird. Even when I knew who the drumman is, I still couldn't associate him with that record. The drumwork is almost unnoticeable under the layers of piano and guitars, but as you start paying attention to it, you realize how pretty damn good the drums sound here. This type of music doesn't necessarily need a very good drummer and smashing drums that Lee provides, but I must admit the drums here make a very strong base that drives through the entire album. Perfect job. The more you listen to the album, the more you differentiate the layers of different instruments and realize the author's genius.
The record itself is a highly personal storybook, consisting of Andrew McMahon's autobiographical songs. The first song "Holiday From Real" starts with the words "She says I'm much too thin\She asks me if I'm sick." Being written long before he knew about his leukemia diagnosis, they turned out to be the prediction of his illness. The song brings a bohemian California mood, which draws a picture in your mind ?- driving down the streets in LA, feeling a warm summer breeze, without a single thought. The best part of the song is "F--k yeah," which sounds almost like famous curse. "Mixed Tape," which is the first single from the album, starts with a dirty guitar, playing punk-flavored riffs. The chorus is anthemic and catchy. "Bruised," being one of the most personal song on the album, is my favorite song here. The words are fit to music so good that you live through the author's emotional experience with him. When it comes to the chorus, it makes you want to scream or at least sing along. A kicking drum line, almost like techno, gives the song a drive on, while everything else -? strings, leisurely piano is laid back and mellow. Terrific combination. Another song that I really liked -? "Into The Airwaves" -? it goes from hush to huge, accomplished by piano passages. // 10
Lyrics: Something Corporate was famous for it's intelligent lyrics. McMahon brought that feature to a new project and his phenomenon meaningful lyrics take the songs to a different level. The album is full of beautiful analogies, like "I am slipping through, I am slipping into the airwaves/You are slipping through my fingers and into the airwaves" in "Into The Airwaves." The themes are spirited with life emotional experiences. Even if it's a song about a loved one, something you've heard about a thousand time, it's said in the whole different manner and McMahon sings it so passionately and heartfelt, that it sounds like your inner voice. My favorite line is "I swim across an ocean/It's my mattress in the basement/I'm sweatin' out excuses/That would make your stomach turn." Doesn't have anything to do with your favorite one though, as everybody would find something different for him/herself here. // 10
Overall Impression: The whole album is a story of Andrew McMahon coming back to his hometown after a long trip he's been to with Something Corporate. Each song is about an emotional experience and, as they all are very well-crafted, each one of them creates a set of vivid pictures and moods in your head. The album's emotional duality changes the mood of the songs from melancholic to agony, mostly even within one track. Every each one is like a little story, that leaves a footstep in you. As all the songs are very personal, everybody would have their own favorites on the album.
There are a couple of spoken word interludes on the album. One of them is "When did society decide that we had to change/And wash a tee shirt after every individual use:/If it's not dirty, I'm gonna wear it." Hahaha, that one made me laugh. I remember the expression of my ex-boyfriend's face when he saw me in the same t-shirt, that wasn't washed, for the third time. He could hardly understand, how you can wear the same clothes twice, I'm not even talking about three times! Well, if you're sweating like a horse, washing your t-shirt even day is a way out for you. Not me. If it's not dirty, I'm gonna wear it. Cool, I like it. There's also a "goodbye note" from McMahon -? you can hear it after the 7-minute MFEO. A nice touch, but it starts to bug you when you hear the same words said with the same expression for 9th time, especially that "It's been... interesting."
To conclude, I want to say that the album has three ingredients that are for a good album -? very well-crafted music, intelligent lyrics with sense and emotions. Plus it's very well put together. // 10
Everything In Transit
unregistered, on september 05, 2005 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: From the moment I heard the first half of "The Mixed Tape," the debut single, I immediately knew that this was something special. You would think that Something Corporate frontman Andrew McMahon's solo project would be nothing but an emo duplicate of the 3 albums he's done with his band. But it's not. Yes, the piano still drives most of the songs, but there's quite a laid-back upbeatness to this emo. I wouldn't start to call most of these songs, with the exception of the touching track "Rescued" (which has the most heartbreaking piano/string combo I've probably ever heard), cookie-cutter emo ballads. Because they're certainly not.
I would begin to call this powerpop, because to a certain extent, it is. The sucsession of piano keys on the amazing, and positively captivating track "Dark Blue," reminded me immediately of the opening to Vanessa Carlton's "White Houses." But that's where the comparisons stop. There's an untouchable aura of retro sound on this album, that one cannot begin to explain in great detail. You'll have to listen for yourself. What I love about this album, is the fact that Andrew didn't depend soely on piano to drive the songs. There are decent and memorable guitars. And with guest drummer Tommy Lee, the drums are on some tracks in perfect synch and possibly soul-mateish with the pianos. I'm sorry if this description is getting you confused, because no explanation can do it justice. // 10
Lyrics: The tagline for the CD is, "this is a story", and it is partially explained through the introduction to the JM official website, that most of the events in this CD actually happened. So taking faint cues from Coheed And Cambria and Green Day, though certainly not to the science-fiction or politically fuelled effect, he has created quite a decent storyline succession of deeply heartfelt and sincere songs that one would expect from the SoCo frontman. The lyrics fit into the tune of the song in almost every way. It was like I was listening to a puzzle that had already been put together. It just fit. There are a few inspirational and poetic lyrics that were a little Switchfooty to me, like on "Miss Delaney" - "In no time there'll be one less sad robot/ooking for a chance to be/something more than just metal." But the lyric that caught me the most was the lyric at the beginning of "Kill The Messenger," that makes you want to keep listening at the first croon of,"Oh my god/this hurts like hell." The lyrics aren't of your typical rhymey-catchychorus-singalong type, which is good, because I wouldn't have it any other way. // 10
Overall Impression: Personally, I love Something Corporate, but Jack's Mannequin clearly blew all of my previous opinions of SoCo out of the water. I didn't expect such genius out of a simple solo CD. It is definitely worth buying, and worth buying for your friends aswell. Not one friend that I've shared this CD with has had a negative opinion about it. The definitive ballad for me would have to be "Rescued," and my advice is to bypass the first half of "MFEO/YCB" and head straight into the 2nd song (oddly enough, on the same track), "You Can Breathe." It caught me from the introduction(like most of the songs), and is just there are no words. My prediction is that most people will probably choose the memorable, and catchy, "Kill The Messenger." It's probably the most heartfelt-sounding song on the album, and is definitely worth a listen to. // 10
Everything In Transit
Jordy, on september 20, 2005 1 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: The new Jack's Mannequin CD is one of the best this year. Jack's Mannequin is basically Andrew McMahon's (of Something Corporate) side project and he uses a side project well. Which is more than you can say for Blink 182 members. His sound lightens up considerably, and he makes, well, a concept album! The CD was written while he and his girlfriend were falling apart, and after their break-up, and the lyrics are all about that. His piano features prominently on every track, along with Tommy Lee's guest drumming on most of them. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrics progress from the first songs, which are pure love songs, down through a break-up to the end. They are even better than his lyrics with Something Corporate. Many may consider SoCo to be a horrible pop-punk band that is ruining the world of music, along with others, but Andrew serves his genre well, and his voice even seems slightly less whiny on the JM CD. Overall, you hardly even notice over the beautiful music and great lyrics. // 10
Overall Impression: 01. Holiday From Real - poppy, SoCal song that could be a hit. Sing "F--k yeah" with Andrew at the top of your lungs.
02. The Mixed Tape - the first single, and an awesome but not overly corny love song.
03. Bruised - the song about the break-up, told in reality (and maybe in metaphor) of flying on an airplane.
04. I'm Ready - another SoCal beach song, with a good vibe and a great lyrical bridge.
05. La La Lie - one of the weaker tracks, with harmonica, another "doubting" song of someone who's been broken up with.
06. Dark Blue - the perfect, amazing song of this CD. Just try and not like it.
07. Miss Delaney - a song about getting together with an older woman, I think. She's cheating on her boyfriend.
08. Kill The Messenger - continues the storm of piano and good lyrics.
09. Rescued - the slowest song, a beautiful depressed ode.
10. MFEO Pt. 1, Made For Each Other - the first half of a two-part song (an idea stolen from Green Day, no doubt) that is poppy and cute.
11. MFEO Pt. 2, You Can Breathe - second part, more beautiful and slow and heartrending.
12. Into The Airwaves - the bonus chapter, as he calls it, that doesn't fit in as well to the CD but is still a great song.
This CD is worth checking out, or maybe just buying straight out if you like SoCo or any pop-punk. It has a softer feel, possibly because of the piano, but it is one of the best releases of the year. // 10
Everything In Transit
dereks vineyard, on september 06, 2005 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Jack's Mannequin is a more alive version of Something Corporate. Mellow, yet energizing. Very postal service-ish, but not as techno. Very tight as a band, but most are on a studio album, so it should be expected. Nothing revolutionary in the overall sound of the band, but very well done. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics on the album are a step above Something Corporate in my opinion. The entire album had a theme, and the writer did a good job of staying with that throughout. Each and every word that the singer sang went so well with the overall sound the band was trying to portray. The singer is amazing, going from a low somewhat steady tone, to a very high pitched tone with what seemed astounding ease. I love his voice, the way he sings. The lyrics are very catchy, not profound or in depth, they don't make you think alot, but very catchy and the way that it is sang makes them even better. // 10
Overall Impression: Very good album, I recommend it to anyone who's feeling the emo. It seems as though they tried to do the punk rock opera a-la Green Day or say anything. Although this album doesn't compare to either of those remarkable works of genius, it is very good. The best way I find to describe it is a radio-friendly, less bitter and more loving version of the say anything album. If you don't want to buy it, give it a listen, downaload a couple of songs. They will grow on you. // 10
Everything In Transit
kmp1331, on september 09, 2005 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: This is a great pop-ish album from Andrew McMahon. It generally feels more lighthearted than most Something Corporate songs, but the lyrics are sometimes darker. Great work on all the instruments, and the production was done very well. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrics are for the most part amazing. There are a few moments that make you think "huh?", but upon closer inspection, the song wouldnt be right without them. Andrew has a knack for making thought provoking songs, and he proves that on this album. You almost feel like you're there with him. // 10
Overall Impression: The most impressive songs on this album are Bruised, The Mixed Tape, Dark Blue, La La Lie, Miss Delaney, and the second half of MFEO, You Can Breathe. Every song is great, however those are the ones that stand out the most in my opinion. This album is tied with two others for my favorite album, Second Stage Turbine Blade by Coheed And Cambria, and Deja Entendu by Brand New, despite not being similar to either of them. It's a great chill out album, good for long road trips, but it's hard to just listen to one song when you get the chance, which is a good thing. If it was lost/stolen, I'd definitely buy it again, and then force my friends to buy a few copies too. // 10