Jack's Mannequin

People and Things

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Stronger than The Glass Passenger and spottier than Everything in Transit, the third album by Jack’s Mannequin finds frontman Andrew McMahon consolidating his strengths in a post-cancer world. He writes his best songs whenever he doesn’t try to tackle big issues, meaning the heady ballads miss the mark while the zippy, happy-go-lucky numbers -- including “Amy, I” and the propulsive opener, “My Racing Thoughts” -- deliver the biggest melodic punch. McMahon’s recovery from leukemia has left him introspective, but his roots are in Something Corporate’s buoyant, punky pop, which leaves People and Things stuck between two extremes. Whenever the tempo picks up, the album delivers an adult version of the West Coast pop anthems McMahon has been writing since his teens. Whenever it slows down, as it does on “Hey Hey Hey (We’re All Gonna Die),” the breezy appeal flies out the window. If anyone deserves the right to ruminate a bit, though, it’s McMahon, who spins his illness into rich, metaphor-heavy lyrics that rarely wallow. People and Things might not be as accessible as Everything in Transit, which contained some of the brightest pop songs of McMahon's career, but it’s stronger than The Glass Passenger, indicating that McMahon has begun to move onward and upward.

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