Jack's Mannequin
People and Things


4.5
superb

Review

by Nathan Flynn CONTRIBUTOR (69 Reviews)
October 7th, 2011 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Andrew McMahon proves that he can do no wrong

People and Things is the antithesis of everything that Andrew McMahon established with his first release with Jack’s Mannequin. The dense metaphors that he packed into such a short time have been replaced with increasingly transparent lyrics. The message that used to take hours to unwrap now takes mere seconds to decipher. Conversely, the piano lines and musicianship has become increasingly complex and layered compared to the somewhat barren soundscapes of Everything in Transit. The message is clear: McMahon is a different person than he was five years ago. His accelerated maturity comes as a direct result of a few external stimuli: overcoming cancer, rejoining his old band, Something Corporate, and watching his friends and family grow up without him. In this way, People and Things is the most primal way to describe the album; as one about the, well, people and things that have changed while he fancies himself a rock; unaltered by the winds of change gusting through his life.

Knowing this, it’s easy to see why McMahon is increasingly reliant on direct storytelling. All of the things that were formerly familiar to him are now changing; each passing day represents an ever-widening fissure between his life before cancer and his life afterwards. Reducing it to the simplest terms is the easiest way for McMahon to still feel a connection, and therefore the best way to relate his trials and tribulations to his fans. Despite the relative simplicity, McMahon remains a master of the English language. His lyrics make bold statements, but maintain an air of subtlety through words that obscure meaning and his soaring-then-falling delivery that communicate more emotion than perhaps the words do. His pleading with a former accomplice on “Amy, I” and his serenade to “Amelia Jean” conjure images of departure and hopelessness. “People Running” figures the entire race as insignificant and life as futile. Cynical? Yes; but understandably so.

By the same token, the score to McMahon’s musings has become significantly darker. Loud piano notes drown out all other instruments, which hit with inconsistent frequency, like the friends that you forgot you have. Each time you become aware of the other instruments, they sound different from the last time you heard them. The one exception is “Restless Dream,” where the piano is gone and the acoustic guitar dominates the song, as if a reunion where an old friend tells you all about the times they had without you. At first, you wish they’d shut up so you can talk again, but then you find their stories are more intriguing than yours are. Instead of holding them hostage, you just stop to listen. That’s what “Restless Dream” is like. It’s a song that commands your attention strictly through its differences that you have come to miss. It’s the happiest song of the album aside from “My Racing Thoughts,” which draws on McMahon’s hopes to find love someday, and basically brings the album full circle. A very fitting (almost) end to an album devoted almost entirely to Andrew McMahon’s pain and suffering.

As if to coincide with McMahon’s newly altered outlook on life, the cheeriness and whimsy of Everything in Transit is noticeably absent on People and Things. If Jack’s Mannequin’s debut album was the perfect album to listen to on the beach, then this is the perfect soundtrack to a snow day. Surrounded by nobody but your roommates and nothing but the relics of time past, you begin to remember the significance these things used to have to you. It’s a stunning realization of how different you, and everyone else, have become. A somber experience indeed, but one that signifies a bright future: one of sunny days and the excitement at seeing what you may grow to be.



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user ratings (99)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
SowingSeason STAFF (4)
Andrew McMahon does it again...


Comments:Add a Comment 
FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 7th 2011


9067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This is probably a 4, but I'm a fanboy. Sue me.

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 7th 2011


9067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

And any similarities to Sowing's review are unintentional, I haven't even read his write-up to be honest.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 7th 2011


16911 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

I didn't notice many similarities. Good review.

Digging: Low Roar - 0

Tyrael
October 7th 2011


20972 Comments


Me neither.
Lovely review. Pos.

Crymsonblaze
October 7th 2011


7536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yep review is quite good

MO
October 7th 2011


19073 Comments


Yep reviews great man.

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 7th 2011


9067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks dudes

SlitYourGuts
October 8th 2011


95 Comments


This is close between a 4.5 and 5 for me. It's pushing Everything in Transit for favorite.

thatoneguy726
October 13th 2011


1637 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is the most agreeable and relatable review I've ever read on Sputnik. Especially the last paragraph. I rarely vote for well-written, but I definitely pos'd this.

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 16th 2011


9067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks a bunch man, you can't really get higher praise than that. It means a lot to hear.

barcafan21
September 20th 2012


1925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

amy, i is one of the best songs of the year.

barcafan21
September 20th 2012


1925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

amy, i is one of the best songs of the year.

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2012


9067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Hell yeah it is

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2012


16911 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

What why does everyone like that song

It's average

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2012


20155 Comments


Saw Jack's Mannequin last fall. Andrew puts on an awesome show.

Digging: Angels and Airwaves - The Dream Walker

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2012


16911 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Yeah he does. I prefer his older material to this album though

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2012


20155 Comments


Me too. His setlist had a bit of everything on it though. (including a beautiful piano only version of Swim!)

barcafan21
September 22nd 2012


1925 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the beat is soooooo good. and the moment right before the chorus is perfection. i prefer this to the
glass passenger, but of course it doesnt touch everything in transit

toxin.
February 9th 2013


12802 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

One of your best reviews, man. God this is so much better than TGP... Amy, I and Amelia Jean are fantastic.



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