14 Songs, 56 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

“Survivor” is one of pop music’s most overworked phrases. Andrew McMahon, though, has earned the title by resuming his recording career after a harrowing battle with leukemia. As the guiding force behind Jack’s Mannequin, he turns 2008’s The Glass Passenger into an emotionally-wrenching and ultimately transcendent release. The Glass Passenger documents his struggle to regain his health, with “What Gets You Off,” “The Resolution,” and the eight minutes-plus “Caves” offering diary-like details of his recent ordeal. The heavy mood of the album is lightened by flashes of McMahon’s mastery of ‘80s pop forms — “Spinning,” “American Love,” and “Orphans” sparkle and chime to buoyant New Wavy melodies. Rather than wallowing in private suffering, the singer reaches out to fans in the panoramic “Hammer and Strings (A Lullaby).” “Swim” may be the album’s spiritual center, an expression of dogged resolve in the face of dark forces. McMahon’s bruised vocals and simple yet effective piano work show enough edge to make these confessions cut deep. The Glass Passenger is a high-potency, fine-crafted pop/rock effort as well as a personal document of hard-won survival.

EDITORS’ NOTES

“Survivor” is one of pop music’s most overworked phrases. Andrew McMahon, though, has earned the title by resuming his recording career after a harrowing battle with leukemia. As the guiding force behind Jack’s Mannequin, he turns 2008’s The Glass Passenger into an emotionally-wrenching and ultimately transcendent release. The Glass Passenger documents his struggle to regain his health, with “What Gets You Off,” “The Resolution,” and the eight minutes-plus “Caves” offering diary-like details of his recent ordeal. The heavy mood of the album is lightened by flashes of McMahon’s mastery of ‘80s pop forms — “Spinning,” “American Love,” and “Orphans” sparkle and chime to buoyant New Wavy melodies. Rather than wallowing in private suffering, the singer reaches out to fans in the panoramic “Hammer and Strings (A Lullaby).” “Swim” may be the album’s spiritual center, an expression of dogged resolve in the face of dark forces. McMahon’s bruised vocals and simple yet effective piano work show enough edge to make these confessions cut deep. The Glass Passenger is a high-potency, fine-crafted pop/rock effort as well as a personal document of hard-won survival.

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