Pack of Pop: An Entertainment Blog

I have to admit, the music I’m listening to right now, most of it came out between 2003 and 2005. I got into this whole emo genre of music and I have a lot of ground to cover. A lot of CDs to buy and listen to and bands to research. There is one person, the lead singer of two bands, however, that I just feel you have to know about if you don’t already: Andrew McMahon.

McMahon is the lead singer of Something Corporate and more recently the person behind the sounds of Jack’s Mannequin. He’s a singer, songwriter, pianist, and also a cancer survivor – and he’s only 24.

McMahon was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in May 2005 and received a successful stem cell transplant from his sister on August 23, 2005, ironically enough the same day his Jack’s Mannequin debut hit stores. Both his album and his health are doing well. Only a little over six months after his transplant, McMahon was on stage again performing at his first live concert for Jack’s Mannequin. It’s a heartwarming story and it’s a success story. McMahon is an inspiration and he’s still on the road.

He’s a keeper if ever there was one. Sorry ladies, he’s married.

Let me give you a little history lesson…

Something Corporate has been classified as a punk band; they are no where near a punk band. There are few bands that are solely classified as emo, but Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin are two of them. Something Corporate released their first full length LP, Leaving Through the Window, in 2002. The follow-up album, North, was received with mixed reviews, but I think it’s a keeper. It’s been in rotation in my car for the past two weeks (that’s when I bought it). Highlights from the album include the single, “Space” and the song “The Runaway.” The band has been compared to Blink-182, but I see no comparison except for the fact that the members of Something Corporate are right out of high school and singing about the woes of teenage life.

When Something Corporate took a hiatus in 2004, McMahon returned to his hometown for a year and half. This is where Jack’s Mannequin and the album Everything in Transit came from. He claims he wanted the album to be a story and it does in fact tell the story of his return home. Everything in Transit sets itself apart from anything by Something Corporate in tone, sound, tempo – just about every aspect of the music. Where Something Corporate is driven by McMahon’s piano and offers a more blended sound, Jack’s Mannequin is loud and guitar heavy. McMahon grew up and he’s relating to a life he had left behind at age 18.

As I listen to a mix I have of Everything in Transit and North, alternating tracks, it is evident the difference in the two bands. McMahon’s solo project is about himself and his life. The music is louder, the lyrics and vocals crisper. There is still the emo mentality, but it’s portrayed in a different way. It should make for an interesting return to Something Corporate which is definitely in scheduled for sometime in the near future.

Well, there’s my history lesson for you.

Still not sure where you’ve heard of Jack’s Mannequin?

Well, if you’ve watched “One Tree Hill,” quite possibly the embodiment of emo music on television, then you’ve heard “The Mixed Tape”, the band’s first single, on the show. The track appeared on the Friends with Benefits: One Tree Hill Soundtrack Vol. 2 and McMahon made an appearance on the show. Hilary Burton, who plays Peyton Sawyer on the show, also stars in the music video for the song.

Or maybe you saw Snakes on a Plane. The Jack’s Mannequin track “Bruised” (my personal favorite), was remixed for the soundtrack.

I can only expect great things in the next year from Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate and I’m all ears. Around the time McMahon returned to the stage he released a Christmas single, “Lights and Buzz,” which only shows how much his experience has changed him. McMahon’s voice and lyrics have won my heart and I can’t wait for the next CD to open my eyes just as much as these first ones have.