For those that have been counting, the wait is over for the new Jack’s Mannequin album. Entitled People & Things, the album contains eleven songs on the regular version and fourteen on the deluxe version.
“I love the band because they’re so chill and inspiring,” says junior Julie S. “It’s really laid back and I like all the piano in it.”
If the whole album isn’t your style, check out this track-by-track review of the highly anticipated third studio release, and be sure to YouTube each track’s short film for a trial run.
My Racing Thoughts disappoints. Not in a horrible way, but it’s a downgrade from such tracks as Swim and Dark Blue. It has a catchy opener, but resist the urge to skip the song and find the real Jack’s Mannequin somewhere in the rest of the CD.
Release Me has those opening piano chords I was waiting for.
The lyrics are superb, and Andrew McMahon’s vocals add that signature Jack’s Mannequin emotion. It’s a little more upbeat than a lot of previous tracks, but this song is an improvement from My Racing Thoughts.
Synths in a Jack’s Mannequin song? Who knew they would sound so good. The anthem the third song Television beats out is addicting. The guitar that slowly builds and the subtle synth and piano that rise up through the melody are great, and the conclusion sells it. It’s an update of the melancholy sound that hooked so many back with Everything In Transit. It is the best song on the album so far.
Hello, vocal harmony. Amy, I is that middle song that no one listens to and never really likes. The guitar riff is cool, but everything else about the song is so-so. Even the title is predictable. By the end, it gets better, but it’s missing that spark that makes a favorite.
McMahon starts Hey Hey Hey (We’re All Gonna Die) and the listener is instantly reminded of his battle with cancer.
“June 6, 2005. This Wednesday my doctors officially diagnosed me with Acute Lymphatic Leukemia,” McMahon says on his Jack’s Mannequin blog. “I feel extremely strong in spirit and I am ready to meet this head on and beat it.”
Embodying that spirit, this song teaches you to live. Yes, it sounds depressing, but once you open your ears and listen, the beauty of the song emerges.
From the very first beat, People, Running is a happy song, which is needed after the somber sound of Hey Hey Hey. The guitar melody is one of the catchiest, and the lyrics are hilariously quirky (“We are only chemical and skin, barely strapped in for this air conditioned drive”). This is the original Jack’s Mannequin sound with the updated talent of the musicians.
It is annoying when bands name songs after girls, but when listening to Amelia Jean, thousands of girls will be wishing they were Amelia Jean. It’s not sad and it’s not happy. Instead, it’s just a great song to listen to. The guitar, piano, and rolling drum beat mesh together and create a perfect song.
Platform Fire is a little less involved than the others, and not in a good way. The guitar part is catchy, but the lyrics are mediocre and everything is slow and a little boring. It slowly gets better, and by the end, it does sound nice. It’s not a bad song, but it’s not great, either.
The refrain of Hostage takes you back to The Mixed Tape from Everything In Transit. A big improvement from Platform Fire, the short film for this song has zero dislikes on YouTube. The bass is prominent, which is great, and it shares the melody with the guitar. This song reminds how great Jack’s Mannequin can be. Everything about it is classically Jack’s, and it makes an awesome track.
The band goes sans piano and still comes out with the beautiful acoustic song Restless Dream. Acoustic guitar picking accompanies cello and meaningful lyrics, and violins join in half way through. The simplicity makes it a hit.
The ending of an album needs to summarize, and Jack’s Mannequin’s last song Casting Lines does that. Another favorite on YouTube, this song uses all of the band’s instruments—guitar, drums, bass, and most importantly, piano. It’s the best balance of the emotional and the relatable. It’s the perfect ending to a near-perfect album.
“The new album is great,” says Julie S. “I’d definitely recommend it.”
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