Album shines with talent, drive

Mikayla Larson, Editor in chief

Countless benefits accompany the reinvention of piano-pop-rock, and Andrew McMahon is no stranger to this notion. The pianist has done notoriously fundamental work with the band Something Corporate, but left to develop his own style of music with his side project Jack’s Mannequin. McMahon’s second album with Jack’s Mannequin, The Glass Passenger, was released nearly two years ago but still permeates listeners with the same undeniable talent and inspiration.

The first words sung on The Glass Passenger [“I want to hear some music…not that radio music”] are so very simple and precise, unlike the remainder of this metaphorically intricate album. “Crashin’” the album’s opening song, and albeit rudimentary, is one of the most uplifting that The Glass Passenger has to offer. Next, the listener will cruise past a filler track, “Spinning”, and arrive at the definition of extended metaphors: “Swim”.

Four minutes is time enough for McMahon to criticize government [“swim for the lost politicians who don’t see their greed as a flaw,”] and to provide the constant, propelling reminder of “just keep your head above, you’ve got to swim,” over a  buoyant melodic background.

The Glass Passenger has only one single; every necessary musical, vocal, and instrumental element is presented to the listener in a three-minute masterpiece titled “The Resolution”.

“There’s a lot that I don’t know, and there’s a lot that I’m still learning,” begins “The Resolution”, a song that houses the most triumphant and miraculous chorus that The Glass Passenger has to offer: “I’m alive and I don’t need a witness to know that I survived.” As McMahon practically screams these words with joy, the listener is stunned as the pride held in this declaration resonates. The music backing these words is just as uplifting, and is the absolute perfect companion.

The trembling, delicate “Caves” is one of two songs on The Glass Passenger in which McMahon openly references his battle with cancer. It opens with a music box-like piano line, and the vulnerable, falsetto description of  being “caught somewhere between alive and living a dream.” As “Caves” gains momentum and switches tempo, McMahon’s attitudes changes into a strong, propelling force in the song’s final spoken words “I’m going to start this over,” and slowly becomes The Glass Passenger’s bonus song “Miss California”.

McMahon has always been proud of being a California native, and salutes the Golden Coast once again in the uplifting tune “Miss California.” The bouncing vocals and laid back guitar work are accented with a simple synthesizer melody and unconventional love lyrics like “I’m gonna hang the sun above your bed and soak your hair in bleach.”

Although Jack’s Mannequin has abandoned its original style of relaxed and breezy pop-punk music, a newfound liking for  piano melodies and lyrical complexities were welcomed by fans on The Glass Passenger.