Capsule Review: The Glass Passenger by Jack’s Mannequin

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October 7, 2008

2:33 AM

With the release of Jack’s Mannequin’s second album, “The Glass Passenger,” Andrew McMahon proves he still has the talent for the type of writing raw, emotional lyrics that propelled his former band, Something Corporate, into piano-rock fame. This album, however, is inspired by a powerful yet triumphant heartbreak.

In 2005, shortly after Jack’s Mannequin’s first album release, McMahon was diagnosed with leukemia. Following his recovery in early 2006, McMahon proved himself a survivor who is unafraid to share the details of his battle. I would not recommend skipping any track on this album. It truly has the feeling of a journey, and an incredibly honest one at that. The first single, “Resolution,” confronts McMahon’s illness head-on, when he sings “I’m alive / And I don’t need a witness / To know that I survived.” Melodic piano (McMahon’s strongest point) and catchy lyrics make “American Love” another stand-out track. “Annie Use Your Telescope,” with its haunting vocals backed by a full orchestra, will remind fans of tracks from the band’s debut album. Though McMahon’s voice is understandably not as strong as before, it adds to the powerful emotions displayed in tracks such as “Caves.” It is a song of survival, building from McMahon’s exposed voice and the familiar sound of piano to an explosion of guitars, and of course, another set of moving lyrics: “Son you might just die / Get you on that morphine drip / The walls are caving in as far as I can see.”

McMahon’s combination of honest, compelling lyrics, memorable refrains and incredible talent cement this album as one of the best releases this year in the emo genre, setting the standard for the rest to follow.

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