Something Corporate

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North Review

by Andrew Leahey

Something Corporate had the misfortune of being dubbed an emo band throughout their career, a classification that overlooked the group's pop/rock muscle and Andrew McMahon's strong songwriting. While Leaving Through the Back Window introduced McMahon as a younger generation's Ben Folds (albeit with more angst and less snarky humor), North saw the songwriter taking an introspective turn, shunning the drunk high school girls and classroom bullies of his previous album for thoughtful ruminations on love, celebrity, and the steady approach of adulthood. North's strongest rock songs -- "Space," "Only Ashes," "Break Myself," and "The Runaway" -- feature minor-key guitar riffs and anxious vocals, indicating that the band's sunny disposition also had a dark side, but the album's true highlights are the slower numbers. "As You Sleep" opens the disc with midtempo piano arpeggios, and the striking title track mixes sparse, atmospheric verses with a meteoric chorus. There's some filler here, of course -- probably more than the band's debut, which only seemed to lose steam toward the end of its 14-song track list -- but North still proved that Something Corporate had the maturity to move past the majority of their Warped Tour brethren. Unfortunately, rhythm guitarist William Tell quit during the album's supporting tour, and Something Corporate took an extended (perhaps permanent) break several months later. Andrew McMahon went on to form Jack's Mannequin, a band that sampled equally from Something Corporate's sunny, pop-based beginnings and the mature, often melancholic introspection of this sophomore effort.

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