After winning his battle with leukemia, Andrew McMahon has pushed himself both physically and emotionally to put out his newest album and he really does do a good job with most of it.
When the first single, “Fire Escape,” dropped from the album I wasn’t too excited about it or this new album.
It was very cheesy and had very overused pop sounds to it. But when the album dropped I still took a listen and I was blown away by what Andrew put into it.
The first track grabbed my attention after the 12-second intro, with a sound like a Twenty One Pilots’ song with a more interesting indie-pop sound to it. The rest of the album has some very interesting synths.
“So Close” has a great beat that you really could just groove along to. “Island Radio” has the same feel to it, but with a beachier vibe beat to it, as you can see by the title of the song.
“Don’t Speak” has a cool industrial sound going on within the song and a bit of a dubstep progression — but not too much.
“Birthday Song” is the best song on the album. The progression is spot-on within the song. McMahon really put a lot of thought into this song and it shows.
The lyrics talk about how a lot of people in the music industry take what they have for granted. They just party their lives away without thinking about what’s happening at home. You can tell he is connecting this to his life spent in the hospital while battling cancer.
The album wasn’t all good though. “Dead Man’s Dollar” and “Walking in My Sleep” both have the same glaring problem. They both sound like a copy and paste of “Fire Escape.” The beat is different and the lyrics are different, but it just sounds so similar.
They also both have a very unmemorable feel to them. The beats aren’t interesting or unique, the lyrics are bland and the overall substance is lacking.
“Love and Great Buildings” and “Shot Out of a Cannon” are both trying to be progressive songs like “Birthday Song,” but both falter. They aren’t as bad at the last two songs listed. They both have interesting synths, piano and guitar flowing together.
Overall, the album is a great accomplishment for McMahon. He tries to bring in some different genres to spin a different tune in the pop indie universe. He has touches of hip-hop, house, industrial, alternative rock and dubstep. The first four songs are very creative, exciting and groovy.
The last song is a great closure that will bring you into the thoughts of McMahon. I would recommend this album if you are interested in some simple pop indie sound with some interesting beats and synths. Happy listening, Gannon University.
Rating: high 6/10
Related artists: Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate