Who Should Buy This: Alternative/pop fans, and those who like to think and live outside of the box. (See parental guidance for overly-specific warnings. There is one track with a swear word and one with an invocation of deity.)
Album: Zombies on Broadway
Artist: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Genre: alternative, pop, rock
Music Rating: 9/10
Lyrics Rating: 9/10
Sounds Like: Atlas Genius, Fitz & The Tantrums, Grouplove, Jack’s Mannequin
Best thing About this Album: It is constantly creative, innovative, and purposeful instead of falling back on predictable expectations or overused imagery.
One thing I wish was different: I’m not a big fan of “Island Radio”. I feel like the island musical influence was too subtle, one-dimensional, and dominated by the other sounds. I would’ve loved to see a fully integrated island/electronic sound on the track, and if that’s too far removed from Andrew’s musical identity, I would’ve preferred to have it left out entirely. It feels strangely noncommittal to me as is.
Website: Andrew McMahon
Favorites: So Close, Don’t Speak for Me (True), Shot Out of a Cannon
Singles: Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me, So Close, Don’t Speak for Me (True), Fire Escape, Walking In My Sleep
Parental Guidance: Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me says “I was baptized in your parent’s pool”. Fire Escape mentions “empty bars”, a “junkie metal-head hotel”, “my oxblood friend”, and tattoos briefly (not in a destructive context). Dead Man’s Dollar uses deity as an interjection in the second verse. Shot Out of a Canon says “even if the cops run us out of town” and “you’re the drug that’s keeping me from landing”. Island Radio hints at drinking & partying and has some vague drug references “I wish that you were on what I was on”. Love and Great Buildings has a swear word in the prechorus. Birthday Song talks nonspecifically about staying out (and presumably getting drunk), but discourages such behavior.
This is a playlist of all of the songs from the album that will automatically play through the whole album. To skip to a particular song, click on the menu icon in the upper left-hand corner.
I have so many words for this album, yet somehow none of them seem enough to speak. Vivid enough. Big enough. Important enough. This album is vivacious, creative, playful, earnest, and full of technical and emotional depth. When I try to tag it or put it into a box with labels, it loses the magic that makes it come to life. I just want everyone to listen and to live it, but I will say that there is beautiful layering musically, incomprehensibly creative lyrical construction, and breathtaking thematic harmony laid throughout the album.
Here are some of my favorite lines from each track to give you a better sample of the whole album. I think the art speaks for itself.
*sounds of New York* — Zombies Intro
“Let’s not get caught up on connections. I could keep searching for a meaning, but I’m still looking for directions .” — Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me
“Preserving life is as good as dying.” — So Close
“I’ll get with it. Give it just a little longer.” — Don’t Speak for Me (True)
“We belong. We belong awake.” — Fire Escape
“I want to make a life, but I want to live there too.” — Dead Man’s Dollar
“We could fall or we could fly or we could borrow wings. I’m tired of standing.” — Shot Out of a Cannon
“I’ll never stop trying. You’re my silver lining. Even when I’m walking in my sleep.” — Walking In My Sleep
“Everyday started out last night.” — Island Radio
“Love and great buildings will survive. Strong hearts and concrete stay alive.” — Love and Great Buildings
“You know you can’t chase the stars underwater.” — Birthday Song
That’s it. If you loved these songs as much as I did, please consider supporting Andrew McMahon by purchasing the album from his website or on your favorite digital music store (iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon, etc.)
And holler at me in the comments! I’d love to talk to you all about this album.