Jack’s Mannequin / People And Things / Warner
If there are two things that make great topics for songs, they are people and things – so kudos to Andrew McMahon and the rest of Jack’s Mannequin for choosing that rather all-encompassing title for their third record. More specifically, the people on the album are the people in singer-songwriter McMahon’s own life, and the things are more intangible ideas like “growing up” and “falling in love” than material objects. McMahon’s probing and highly personal lyrics are the emotional centre throughout, but the energy he brings to his piano and vocal performances — skills long known to fans of Something Corporate – make sure the momentum never wanes. Even in his most vulnerable moments, there’s an unflappable sense of optimism, as in “Hey Hey Hey (We’re All Gonna Die)”, one of the cheeriest tracks on the album.
Turning to the rest of the band, Jay McMillan and Mikey Wagner are commendable on the drums and bass, respectively, providing a fitting driving beat on the lead single “My Racing Thoughts”. Bobby Anderson on guitar hangs in the background on that number, besides some heartfelt slide techniques – but steps into the forefront elsewhere including a fiery little Coldplay lick in “Platform Fire”. One thing that’s been kind of lacking in pop music of late has been a hit song with a girl’s name for a title. Seriously, that used to happen all the time but nowadays it seems like every song is written about an anonymous hookup. Either that, or a singer makes a purposefully generic love song to appeal to more people than just the Mandys or Runaround Sues out there. Jack’s Mannequin comes to the rescue twofold on People And Things, with “Amy, I” and “Amelia Jean”. McMahon loves a girl named Amy – or Amelia (or both?) – and he doesn’t care who knows that.
Download: “My Racing Thoughts”, “Hey Hey Hey (We’re All Gonna Die)”
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