If I had to name one album as my all-time favourite, it would be ‘Everything in Transit’ by Jack’s Mannequin. It’s not that I think it’s musically the greatest album ever, but it’s the one I like the most. It was simply the right music, in the right place, at the right time. It ended up in constant rotation during the difficult university years of my late teens, and I still enjoy listening to it occasionally now despite not listening to a great deal of pop these days.
Jack’s Mannequin first appeared in 2004 following the end of pop-punk with a piano high school band Something Corporate as a solo act for their frontman, Andrew McMahon. The sound wasn’t radically different, a natural progression really. ‘Everything in Transit’ was released soon afterwards in summer 2005. Then came a great personal struggle for McMahon with leukaemia which he eventually recovered from fully.
The second album, ‘The Glass Passenger’ came out a long three years later, and, while by no means a bad album, I couldn’t help but be rather disappointed by it. It was another three years until the third record, ‘People and Things’ was released, and again my reaction was one of mild disappointment, despite some strong songs. I guess the comparison to the debut was just too much. I doubt any album will ever mean as much to me as that one.
Now, McMahon has decided to retire the ‘Jack’s Mannequin’ moniker. Doubtless he will continue to make music under his real name, and has stated that he will continue to perform some Jack’s songs live, but still it’s the end of an era for him.
I am very grateful that I was able to see Jack’s Mannequin live a few years ago. I was traveling around the United States and had tried to get tickets to a show in several cities with no luck. I eventually secured one for a gig in Boston. At the time I had to decide whether to cancel my planned trip to Niagara Falls to see the show or not. Ultimately I decided to on the basis that if I came back to America ten years later, Niagara Falls would still be there, but this band may not be. Well I’ve been proved correct on that point, and I’m glad I made the right decision.
I’m interested to see what Andrew McMahon puts out next now, I genuinely think he’s one of the best pop songwriters of the last decade.