The Glass Passenger is the sophomore album from Jack’s Mannequin, the side project of Andrew McMahon from Something Corporate. Something Corporate have long been one of my favourite bands, and I was highly impressed by the first Jack’s Mannequin album, Everything In Transit. Whilst I enjoyed The Glass Passenger, it just didn’t work as well for me as its predecessor.
The album starts off quite well. I was expecting a more powerful opening, but Crashing starts the album off nicely. It opens with the beautiful piano we’ve come to expect of McMahon, and the opening lyric, ‘I want to hear some music’ is simple, but somewhat enticing. The next track, Spinning, is one of the best on the album, and has everything in it which Jack’s Mannequin do well – amazing piano, great guitar, fantastic lyrics and decent drumming. It’s a shame that Swim, the third track, is a bit of a let down. Jack’s Mannequin do slow songs well (proven later in the album by Annie, Use Your Telescope and Hammer And Strings), but this one just doesn’t grab me like it should. This is potentially the weakest song on the album, and even after a few listens, I just can’t get into it. The album does this a fair bit – it has some good songs, then a weaker one, then some more good ones, then another weaker one. Don’t let this put you off though – all of the songs are listenable and enjoyable, but it disrupts the feel of the album somewhat, and leaves you a little disappointed.
That said, there are some absolutely great songs on this album. The first single, The Resolution, is a wonderful song, with some beautiful strings included. In fact, if I was to put the album into my own running order, I would open with that one, because it just hits you right off, and has a great chorus. American Love, which is probably going to be the next single, is catchy as hell with some brilliant riffs in it. Again, this song has a massive chorus, which is something Jack’s Mannequin manage almost every time. Bloodshot sounds a lot like a Maroon 5 single, but with more punch and better lyrics. As I mentioned previously, Jack’s Mannequin do slow songs well, and Hammer and Strings is beautiful, and has fast become one of my favourite Jack’s Mannequin songs. The album also finishes on a stronger note than it begins. Caves is one of those all-piano songs that McMahon is famous for, and sounds sublime through iPod headphones.
However, there’s just something about the The Glass Passenger that doesn’t live up to its predecessor. It’s the lack of those quirks that Everything In Transit had. One thing that I loved about Everything In Transit was the experimentation; the different instruments used, the different tones of the songs. Everything on The Glass Passenger seems to blend together after a while. Some songs sound like Something Corporate 2.0 without the California vibe – it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it detracts from some of the better elements of the album.
The Glass Passenger is definitely worth a listen though. If you like soaring piano melodies and lyrics full of imagery and honesty, then you’ll enjoy it very much. It’s not quite the album I was expecting, but it’s still highly enjoyable, and I can’t help but smile when I’m listening.
3 out of 4 high fives.