Review: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness – Self-Titled

Andrew McMahon has taken on a new moniker for his new solo work, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. This begins a new story from Andrew. The self titled album is family-focused, with songs that are clearly about his wife and daughter among other things. It’s the same classic songwriting displayed with McMahon’s previous projects.

I’ve always thought that he could write songs that’s were great pop songs, but don’t display the over-production we frequently come across in mainstream pop music. This is a great thing. Andrew McMahon is not only good at writing for hooks, but he can also write verses and prechoruses that are just as catchy. While the melodies don’t stray too far from his work as Jack’s Mannequin, they’re still enjoyable.

As a whole, the work McMahon has done appears to be underrated. Personally, I think his piano-pop music is much better than most pop you’d hear on the radio. Yet his work just hasn’t received much mainstream attention. I remember the days when Jack’s Mannequin would be played on One Tree Hill along with the likes of Jimmy Eat World. I can only lyrics hope this album gets the attention it deserves.

The Pop Underground was risky for McMahon because of how he strayed from his previous style and added in ‘80s style synths. I enjoyed the EP, but not as much as his earlier works. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness is a great follow up to the EP, and marks a return to form. Sure the songwriting and melody tactics are familiar, but they’ve worked for Andrew and he still continues to impress. Some of my favorite songs off the album, aside from the singles, are “Black And White Movies” and “Maps For The Getaway.” these songs really display the great lyricism and musicianship. 

“Maps” is a fantastic ending to the album and wraps things up nicely by letting listeners know just how much Andrew and his wife have been through together. Andrew has battled cancer and never given up. He tells great stories in such a beautiful manner and that’s what really makes this album as great as it is. This will definitely be a contender for my albums of the year list.