Andrew McMahon album review

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness is the solo project of the musician, former member of the bands Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin. (William Beckett/Creative Commons Flickr)

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness’ latest album is catchy and fun, but lacks originality.  

On Feb. 10, indie pop band Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness dropped their long awaited album, “Zombies on Broadway.” “Zombies on Broadway” is Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness’ second album, following his self-titled album released in 2014. “Zombies on Broadway” features 11 songs, several of which are about New York City. In an interview, Andrew McMahon in the Wildreness admitted that many of the songs featured on his album were written in NYC, so it comes as no surprise that the city is mentioned several times throughout the album in songs like “Brooklyn, Youre Killing Me,” and “Fire Escape.”

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness is the solo project of musician Andrew McMahon, a former member of the bands Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin. Andrew McMahon’s extensive experience in the music industry does not come across in his solo album, which sticks to traditional and occasionally overdone pop music techniques.

While the songs featured on “Zombies on Broadway” don’t sound exactly alike, they all feature several key elements that can get repetitive if you listen to the entire album in one sitting. Every song features a gradual buildup of instrumental layers, culminating with an explosive and catchy chorus complete with chanting and clapping. Even the comparatively slower song “Don’t Speak for Me (True),” which features classical instruments like the piano, follows this same formula. Lyrically, many of the songs featured on “Zombies on Broadway” are well-thought-out and poetic, but much of this gets lost in the songs during the first listen. The eighth song on the album, “Walking In My Sleep” is perhaps the best example of this, featuring poet lyrics like “When you feel that same sun coming into view/and you see the world in blinding color” that get buried by the enthusiastic chorus. “Dead Man’s Dollar” also loses its deeper meaning as the song goes on, since the song’s theme gets overshadowed by the catchy chorus. The only exception to Andrew McMahon’s formula can be found on the last song on the album, “Birthday Song.” “Birthday Song” is a touching and beautiful song that maintains a slow pace, which allows the lyrics to truly stand out as the main component of the song.

Despite the repetitive nature of “Zombies on Broadway,” there is no denying that every song in the album is exceptionally fun. Andrew McMahon’s formulaic but playful songs sound like they definetly belong on a summer playlist, as the cathcy choruses make the album perfect to dance and sing to. Andrew McMahon’s songs “Island Radio” and “So Close” definintely give off a fun, warm-weather vibe. “Zombies on Broadway’s” hit single “Fire Escape” is perhaps one of the album’s best songs, as it is without a doubt the most fun and enthusuastic.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness’ second full album “Zombies on Broadway” definitely established Andrew McMahon as his own musicaian, straying from his more alternative roots. It is hard to dislike the songs feautured on “Zombies on Broadway,” but there is not a single song in the album that brings anything new or interesting to the indie pop genre. “Zombies on Broadway’s” fun and exciting songs are a great pick-me-up for the cold winter months, and are likely to become hits as the summer approaches.


Lauren Brown is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lauren.brown@uconn.edu.