Just when you thought Andrew McMahon couldn’t get any better, he comes out with People and Things, a great album from the mind of a true artist. Compared to The Glass Passenger, this album features a strange but familiar side of McMahon: the more relaxed, carefree rocker we knew him to be during his days with Something Corporate. But at the same time, we see McMahon’s transition from his teenage angst lyrics into an all-around more mature sound with Jack’s Mannequin.
The whole album has an all-around happy mood to it. In past works, McMahon reflected more on his recovery from chemotherapy, which had most of his songs themed towards rising up, or a separation from the world or a lover. The good vibrations kick off with “My Racing Thoughts,” the first single released off the album. It’s an upbeat tune that is 100% guaranteed to have you singing along by the second chorus. “Release Me” is an all around intricate track. Listening to the layers in the song will have you mesmerized, as if the lyrics “you know the code, release me” are talking about you. Then the contrast of the guitar and the piano also add to the feel. McMahon truly is one of the few artists who can pull off piano-based alternative rock.
The track that caught my attention the most was “Restless Dreams.” I kept waiting for the piano to come in at some point and when it didn’t, I was surprised. McMahon and guitarist Bobby Anderson connect so well in this song; feeding off each other’s transitions and walk downs shows how comfortable they have gotten with each other after years of touring in Jack’s Mannequin. The song enlightens McMahon’s new state of mind and how much he has grown through his music. It’s my favorite track because the guitar work is fantastic and the lyrics seem to be more relatable than other tracks. All of the songs on the album are really relevant to all, but this track seems to touch on the idea of the things we left behind.
The tracks “Hey Hey Hey(We’re All Gonna Die)” and “Amelia Jean” give the album a more ballad-like sense and display McMahon’s traditional piano stylings. Both songs, lyrically, are more about his travels and longing for home. His restlessness holds a lot of importance in this album with the amount of time he’s been touring.
I can honestly say I enjoy every track in this album; there isn’t a song I can denote as bad or unlistenable but it doesn’t reach up to the level of Everything In Transit. What I did miss in this album was an anthem song, just an earth shattering “oh man you get it” kind of song like previous anthems “Swim” or “The Resolution.” That said, “My Racing Thoughts” and “Restless Dreams” are on a level of their own. Even then, McMahon doesn’t disappoint with People and Things and I can only see him growing more and more in his craft in the years to come.