“I’m writing you a symphony of sound”
No. You’re not seeing double. We continue Artist Of The Month with more music from Jack’s Mannequin. In part 1, we swam, were Bruised, lived in Dark Blue, and played with Hammers and Strings (Don’t you love my play-on-words?). Today we might go into the Caves or play The Mixed Tape (I think this is getting old). Wherever we go, you’re sure to have an amazing soundtrack to accompany you.
To go along with this on-the-road metaphor we seem to have going on, I want you to pretend that you’re going on a road trip. The destination is not necessarily known and you like it that way. Your bags are packed and you’re ready to leave your stressful day-to-day life behind. Are you with me so far? Okay.
You begin your journey. The sun is shining. The sky is blue and cloudless. Your excited about the possibility of the unknown. Life is good. Then you remember that you’ve made an awesome mix tape. You leave the claustrophobic space behind you as you open the windows. The wind is a powerful force that wants to take you away. Music begins to play. This is your favorite song. You get butterflies as you hear it. The open window prompts you to push your hand out. You feel it. You feel the power (Didn’t I say I was overdramatic?). You start to get goosebumps. The combination of the music, the sun, the wind, make you feel indestructible. You feel alive.
This is how I see Jack’s Mannequin. They are the combination of the sun, the wind, the music. They are the feeling you get as you make those circular patterns in the air, as you feel the warmth of the sun on your face, as you hear the beats and melodies of the music (Again. I’m overdramatic). They are the perfect soundtrack on this road trip.
The Mixed Tape is the beginning of the road trip. It’s the high energy, jump up and down, fist pumping beginning to your journey. It might be a little angry, but it’s romantic and exciting. It’s what you want your trip to be. I see this song as one of the best I’m-doing-better-without-you-but-I-still-love-you-sort-of get back at your boyfriend/girlfriend tune. It’s perfect when you just want to dance it out (High five to anyone who got that Grey’s Anatomy reference).
“And there’s a piece of me in every single Second of every single day, But if it’s true then tell me how it got this way, Where are you now? As I’m swimming through the stereo I’m writing you a symphony of sound, Where are you now? As I rearrange the songs again, This mix could burn a hole in anyone, But it was you I was thinking of”
Next, I want to talk about a song on the Dear Jack EP. The album accompanies the documentary Dear Jack, which follows Andrew through his diagnosis and recovery. Diane, The Skyscraper is one of the most personal and heartfelt songs out of the Jack’s Mannequin repertoire. The lyrics are a testament to everything Andrew went through during his struggle with leukemia. I love this song because it’s so personal; because of the lyrics that could be considered a journal of experience.
“I’m living in a waiting room on the tenth floor Of a New York City skyscraper, Got the paperwork filled out my friend, Can you tell me how this story ends? . . . And there’s mornings where I wake up quick And my head it dreams and my stomach’s sick alone To slowly pull the sun from bed Below the fifty-ninth street bridge, And I feel like I’m a battle tank But there’s peace for every pound of strength, I’m waiting for the enemy While she plugs my machines back in”
This next song is sort of a dual listen. By that I mean, there are two versions that you must listen to, to fully understand the beauty of it. Both the studio version and live version of Holiday From Real are epic masterpieces. The live version, which I have a soft spot for (And is available on the deluxe version of The Glass Passenger), is raw acoustic love for your ears. With just the piano and a guitar, the song plays out the yearning to be with the one you love and just leave everything behind. The studio version (On Everything In Transit) is an energized, yet still beautiful counterpart to its live rendition.
“But if you left it up to me Everyday would be A holiday from real, We’d waste our weeks Beneath the sun, We’d fry our brains And say it’s so much fun out here, But when it’s all over I’ll come back for another year”
To wrap up Jack’s Mannequin – The Music, we’re going to end with the most beautiful, heartbreaking, and epic song from Jack’s Mannequin: Caves. The opening ballad begins with a breathtaking piano solo and the soft silk voice of Andrew McMahon. “I lay still, still I’m ready to fight. Have my lungs, but you can’t take my sight. The walls caved in tonight.” I imagine listening to this song on the beach, the sun covered by clouds, a still silence against the music running through your mind. Then another piano solo (This song always gives me chills). Now the song is pulled into high gear. “The walls are caving in as far as I can see. The walls are caving in. The doors got locked for sure. There’s no one here but me.” I’m almost sure that this is my favorite Jack’s Mannequin song (I never can really choose. I love them all). As I heard on a YouTube video, this song is “8 minutes of awesome” (Except for this video because it’s only half the song. Good quality, though. YouTube fail).
“As far as I can see, Walls are caving in, Doors got locked for sure, But I see these doors have keys, Walls are caving in, As far as I can see, The walls are caving in Doors got locked for sure, There’s no one here but me”
“There’s no one here but me”
Come back next week for the finale of Artist Of The Month: Jack’s Mannequin. We’re going out with streamers and confetti flying.
What is your favorite Jack’s Mannequin song? Favorite album? Tell me in the comments!