Artist: Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness
Album: Zombies On Broadway
Number of Releases: 2nd Studio Album (as AMITW) – 8th Total
Release Date: February 10, 2017
Andrew McMahon takes some calculated risks on his latest album, “Zombies On Broadway,” and they absolutely pay off. He’s come a long way since his punk days in Something Corporate back in 2002 and is now belting out melodies on tracks that feel completely unique to one another, yet still pays homage to the hits that have gotten him to the successful point at which he is now. Most of the tracks have to do with him being a family man now, married to his longtime girlfriend Kelly in 2006 and having their first child, Cecilia Kate McMahon, in 2014. You can hear their child mentioned in my favorite track off the album, “Dead Man’s Dollar,” where he speaks are working so much to give his wife a good life while wishing to be more present (“I know this isn’t easy / You got that baby sleeping all by yourself / Feels like I’m always leaving / I swear to God, one day I’ll be there to help”) and she’s also mentioned on “Birthday Song” (“You’ve got a life and a spaceship to fly / You’ve got a woman and a beautiful yellow-haired daughter / Come back to earth, kid / You know that you can’t chase the stars underwater”).
“Dead Man’s Dollar” hits a special note for me, as I have also just experienced the birth of my first child and having to be at work all week while she and her mother are at home is tough. This sentiment rings completely true, not to mention, it feels like the most impressively produced song on the album. It surprises me that this hasn’t become one of the singles yet.
“Birthday Song” feels like an ode to the Something Corporate hit “Konstantine,” which supposedly is one of McMahon’s most requested songs still to date, as it has the same tone and length to it, with themes of flying and astronauts. The cover features McMahon in an astronaut’s helmet, so this theme is well represented.
“Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me” feels like an ode to his track “I’m Ready” recorded under the Jack’s Mannequin guise, where he goes into poetic ramblings which are spoken rather than actually sung. (“My hand is a braindead magnet / So I keep waking up on fire / Beneath this low rise second city / That’s turning good men into liars”)
“Fire Escape” is the first single off the album, which is self-explanatory because it’s probably the catchiest songs off the album. It too seems written in regards to his wife. (“You’re number one / You’re the reason I’m still up at dawn / Just to see your face / We’ll be going strong with the vampires, baby / We belong, we belong awake”)
A few of my other favorite tracks include “Island Radio,” which feels like an homage to “Into The Airwaves” off the Jack’s Mannequin debut album “Everything In Transit,” (“Last transmission from the island radio / Double vision wrapped in last night’s party clothes / I can’t spend another night alone / I tried swimming but I can’t get home / Last transmission from the island radio”) “Shot Out Of A Cannon,” which almost has a club vibe to it and is probably the biggest straying from the old and the biggest capitalization of his new sound, it’s impossibly catchy, complete with more astrological references and claps, and “Walking In My Sleep” which returns McMahon to his Jack’s Mannequin ballads, starting with the keys he’s known for, but slowly adding drums, synthesizer, and guitar.
Following his previous album, which is arguably the most successful Andrew McMahon has been thus far in his career, he continues to evolve as an artist. Never straying too far from his roots, however, he is not abandoning where he came from, but almost one-upping his previous endeavors. He’s unafraid to take him music to a new place, all the while paying respect to those fans, myself being one of them, that have followed him for his almost 20 year career. Personally, the journey for me is that Andrew always writes from a place that I can relate to at that particular time in my life. When Jack’s Mannequin’s “Everything In Transit” album came out, I was in a transitional period in my life, graduating high school and getting ready for the next big step in my life. Now, on “Zombies On Broadway,” he’s writing about his wife and little girl, and that is exactly the point at which I’m at in my life as well, so that connection remains so strong. Not to mention, it has been a stretch since a new album came out that I truly connected to, which Taking Back Sunday’s “Tidal Wave” album was probably the only one from last year (2016).
|2||“Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me”||3:11|
|4||“Don’t Speak For Me (True)”||3:24|
|6||“Dead Man’s Dollar”||3:31|
|7||“Shot Out Of A Cannon”||3:53|
|8||“Walking In My Sleep”||3:50|
|10||“Love And Great Buildings”||3:48|
|“Fire Escape”||September 9, 2016|
|“Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me”||November 18, 2016|
|“Walking In My Sleep”||December 16, 2016|
|“So Close”||January 6, 2017|
|“Don’t Speak For Me (True)”||January 27, 2017|