Everything in Transit

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Everything in Transit
Everything in Transit.jpg
Studio album by Jack's Mannequin
Released August 23, 2005
Recorded 2004–2005
Studio 4th Street Recording, Santa Monica, California
Genre Pop rock
Length 45:33
Label Maverick
Producer Andrew McMahon, Jim Wirt
Jack's Mannequin chronology
Everything in Transit
(2005)
The Glass Passenger
(2008)
Singles from Everything in Transit
  1. "Holiday from Real"
    Released: May 10, 2005
  2. "The Mixed Tape"
    Released: July 19, 2005
  3. "Dark Blue"
    Released: June 27, 2006
  4. "La La Lie"
    Released: November 2006

Everything in Transit is the debut studio album by American rock band Jack's Mannequin, released on August 23, 2005, by Maverick Records. Andrew McMahon wrote most of the lyrics during his first summer outside of his band Something Corporate. McMahon spent almost all of his savings on recording the album before Maverick Records picked him up. The album was produced by both McMahon and Jim Wirt.

Background[edit]

In the early 2000s, Andrew McMahon served as the frontman for pop punk act Something Corporate.[1] McMahon recorded and toured with the band since high school, releasing three albums (2000's Ready... Break, 2002's Leaving Through the Window and 2003's North) within a few years. As a result, he spent little time at home.[2] The group went a co-headlining US tour with Yellowcard in March and April 2004[3] and supported The Offspring on an Australian tour in June.[4] Unable to work together, the members' relationships became strained.[5] Discussions were held about recording another album, however, despite McMahon having a batch of songs already written,[6] he thought the idea sounded "terrifying".[5] The group were also facing pressure from the music industry, with a lot of things disrupting the otherwise friendly atmosphere between the members.[7]

Concerned that a new album would feel forced,[5] and that they had reached the point of burning out, the band decided to go on a break to recuperate.[6] After returning home to Orange County, McMahon spent some time with his friends and family, and frequented local eateries.[8] McMahon began working on a project titled Jack's Mannequin[5] with Something Corporate collaborator Jim Wirt. McMahon and Wirt played all of the instruments while the former handled the writing.[9] McMahon toyed with the idea of calling it The Mannequins, but was tired of bands beginning with "the".[10] He got the word mannequin from a random conversation at the time.[11] At the same time, he had finished a song entitled "Dear Jack", and merged the two names together.[10]

McMahon threw himself into the project, claiming he worked harder on it than he did with Something Corporate. He rarely slept and rarely ate, and was typically wasted for over half a day at a time.[12] Within a few months, he stockpiled dozens of songs, which were influenced by Southern California's landscape and atmosphere. Though he had no plan to release the songs, he intended to record them.[2] During this time, McMahon did session work for Hidden in Plain View and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee.[13][14] McMahon heard through mutual business associates that Lee enjoyed North, and during one night, Lee invited McMahon to work with him.[10] In addition, he spent a lot of time working on the Something Corporate video album Live at the Ventura Theater.[9] McMahon eventually tracked 17 demos, most of which centred around his family and his upbringing.[15]

Production[edit]

McMahon financed the recording sessions with over $40,000 from his own funds,[16] and would co-produce the album with Wirt.[2] McMahon felt protective of the recording environment and was cautious about how many people would be in the studio. He wanted to "do and say exactly what was on my mind", and brought in people only after the tracks were mainly complete.[17] A few of McMahon's friends contributed to the recordings: Wirt (vocals, bass and guitar), Something Corproate guitarist Bobby Anderson (guitar), session musician Patrick Warren (organ, strings and arrangements) and Lee (drums).[2] Out of the 17 demos, only one was recorded for the album, "Holiday from Real".[15] The drum tracks were made up of samples by CJ Eiriksson, before they were mixed with live drums by Lee,[2] which Lee tracked in a single day.[18]

As the songs were starting to form an album, he approached major label Maverick Records[19] three quarters through the recording process and signed with them.[2] They gave him a handheld video camera to videotape the remaining sessions with the intent on using clips for online promotion. Initially, he would simply say what he intended to do in the studio on the given day, before it evolved into a dialogue on how his day went.[20] After finishing the initial track listing,[21] McMahon showed the album to his label. An A&R representative suggested adding one more song;[15] instead, he went back and reworked the track listing, adding two songs in the process[21] ("La La Lie" and "Into the Airwaves").[15] Recording was presumed finished in December 2004,[20] until "Dark Blue" was recorded in May 2005.[22] An outtake from the sessions, "Cell Phone", was later recorded for The Glass Passenger (2008).[20]

Composition[edit]

Everything in Transit is a concept album that details McMahon's return to his hometown, which he left to pursue a career in music, and the end of a long relationship[2] with Kelly Hansch as a result of it. The pair would later reconcile and get married.[23] Throughout the album, references are made to being in hospital and becoming sick. McMahon mentioned that the lyrics were about recovering from his frequent touring with Something Corporate, which he compared to recovering from an illness of sorts. While writing, he began consuming a lot of pop albums from the 1960s and 1970s that he considered better than his own material.[19]

Musically, the album has been classed as pop rock.[1] When working in a band, decisions are often made as a collective democratically. While working on the project alone, it allowed McMahon to write a song more so towards what he could hear in his head.[10] He tried to shape the album after some of his favorite records, namely the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (1966), Weezer's Weezer (1994) and Tom Petty's Wildflowers (1994).[16] The album's booklet features an autobiographical tale in the form of a storybook, which was inspired by Pet Sounds.[2] Throughout the album are audio clips that McMahon had done during the recording sessions on his handheld camera.[20]

"Holiday from Real" opens with the quiet sounds of beaches and traffic, before moving into a bass slide.[24] McMahon talks about arriving home and being viewed as a visitor in his own world[2] against the backdrop of Los Angeles.[24] McMahon wrote "The Mixed Tape" about making the perfect mixtape for his girlfriend.[25] "Dark Blue" was the last song recorded for the album. The song's lyrics were completely re-written from its original draft, which included the placeholder lyric "I'm black and blue". As it was the last song, McMahon was initially unsure what to talk about. It then became the album's centrepiece, with McMahon explaining: "...all of a sudden I knew what the story was, and I was having these crazy dreams about tidal waves and the characters … became this story about this massive storm coming and sweeping us off into the water."[15] "MFEO" is a two-part track, part one being "Made for Each Other" and the second part "You Can Breathe". The first part is about McMahon analysing his place in the world.[2]

Release[edit]

Initial promotion and McMahon's leukemia[edit]

After touring with Something Corporate in January and February 2005,[26] McMahon began playing shows with Jack's Mannequin in March and debuted material from the project.[27] On April 17, Jack's Mannequin's debut album was announced for release in summer of that year through Maverick Records.[28] Another announcement followed four days later, revealing the album's title, Everything in Transit, and the release date of July 12.[29] In May, the group embarked on a six-week tour to build up hype for the album.[21] McMahon's backing band, which was given the name the Mannequins, consisted of Anderson on guitar, Jacques Brautbar on guitar, Jon Sullivan on bass and Jay McMillan on drums.[30] On May 10, "Holiday from Real" was released as a 7" vinyl single,[31] featuring two versions of "Kill the Messenger" (album version and an acoustic version) as B-sides.[32] On May 20, two songs were made available for streaming through the band's Myspace account.[33] Two days later, it was announced that the album's release date was pushed back to August 9 as "Dark Blue" was written and recorded for inclusion.[22]

Around this time, McMahon started feeling sick while on tour,[19] suffering from chronic fatigue[34] and laryngitis. On May 25, McMahon contacted his doctor, who said he should cancel the following night's show as he could face permanent damage to his voice. He then meet up with his doctor, who ran some blood tests after seeing McMahon's pale complexion.[22] Two days later,[22] during a mastering session for the album, McMahon received a phone call[15] where the doctor said he needed a blood transfusion. He subsequently checked in to the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, where he was directly sent to the leukemia ward.[27] McMahon spent the next few days waiting for the results of a bone marrow sample take from his hip.[22] On June 1, McMahon was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.[35] All forthcoming tour dates with both Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate were postponed indefinitely.[36] He flew to Los Angeles and was admitted to the UCLA Medical Center[37] and underwent a first round of chemotherapy.[15]

As he was at a rare age to get cancer, there was a debate whether to put him on an adult regimen or a vigorous pediatric treatment. He went with the adult regimen as the hospital was part of a clinical trial that was testing the regimen.[38] McMahon contacted the label and told them that while he would be unable to promote the album until he was completely healthy,[15] they should go ahead with its August 9 release date.[22] Due to the multiple rounds of chemotherapy, his white blood cell count was almost at zero, coupled with a weak immune system, he contracted pneumonia. His white blood cell count eventually increased, and he decided on having a stem-cell transplant, over the longer and painful process of bone-marrow grafting.[34] The chemotherapy could've potentially last several years if he was unable to receive a transplant. McMahon said the prospect of "waiting three years to put out a record that was so personal and immediate to me ... was just not an option to me."[15]

On July 3, McMahon was released from hospital and returned home to Los Angeles. On July 8, the album's release date would be pushed back a further two weeks to August 23 in an attempt to give the album more traction prior to its release.[22] "The Mixed Tape" was released as a single on July 19.[39] In late July, a music video was filmed for "The Mixed Tape". On August 3, McMahon began preparations for a bone marrow transplant.[40] On August 18, the animated music video for "The Mixed Tape" was released. It was directed by Michael Perlmutter and Full Tank,[41] and was filmed while McMahon was being treated in hospital.[18] Watercolour-esque paintings are seen throughout the clip, changing from a pastoral countryside to a dense forest to a city and then outer space. Shots of McMahon were interlaced over the animation.[41] After finding out his sister Katie was eligible,[15] he went through a second round of chemotherapy,[38] before receiving the stem-cell transplant on the same day the album was released.[23] It subsequently gave him a new immune system.[16]

Recovery and later promotion[edit]

McMahon spent the following months recovering at his parent' house.[16] He met with his doctor weekly to check his blood count,[42] and had to use testosterone patches due to the chemotherapy reducing his testosterone.[34] "The Mixed Tape" was released to radio on September 20.[43] McMahon contracted a prolonged bout of shingles,[34] before eventually going into remission in October.[44] The bout of shingles subsided by December;[34] he played his first two concerts since his diagnosis later that month.[35] By January 2006, he was still on some medication, but was almost completely healthy.[18] In January 2006, McMahon performed "The Mixed Tape" on an episode of One Tree Hill, in which Hilarie Burton's character holds a benefit concert. While filming the episode in Wilmington, North Carolina, a second music video was filmed for "The Mixed Tape"[18] with director Jay Martin.[45] In the clip, McMahon delivers a package to Burton's house, which contained a mixtape and a flier for a Jack's Mannequin show. Burton's character eventually listens to the tape and goes to the show.[18] The band eventually played "The Mixed Tape" and "Dark Blue".[46]

Three men performing onstage
Jack's Mannequin performing during a support tour for O.A.R., July 2006

Following this, he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Last Call with Carson Daly.[37] He slowly started performing one-off shows with his backing band in California, before eventually going on a short five-date tour out of the state in March.[19] "Dark Blue" was released to radio on June 27.[43] Between June and August, Jack's Mannequin supported O.A.R. on their headlining US tour.[47] In early July, McMahon finished taking the last of his prescribed medicine. Later that month, filming for a music video for "Dark Blue" began, before wrapping in August.[48] The video, directed Brett Simon,[49] was released on September 21.[50] Inspired by They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969), the clip features a dance marathon in 1950s Venice.[48] In September and October, the band went on the Tour for a Cure, with support from Copeland, the Hush Sound and Daphne Loves Derby.[51] Proceeds for the tour went to cancer research for the 15–22 age span.[52] Everything in Transit was re-released on November 7, featuring a DVD of live performances, music videos for "The Mixed Tape" and "Dark Blue", and interviews.[53]

In November and December, the band supported Panic! at the Disco on their US arena tour.[54] To promote Jack's Mannequin's appearance on the tour, "La La Lie" was released as a single.[55] In February 2007, the band went on their first headlining tour,[56] dubbed The West Coast Winter Tour.[57] They toured the US with support from Head Automatica and The Audition.[56] They extended this tour into March, with support from The Audition and We Are the Fury.[58] Following this, the band appeared at The Bamboozle festival.[59] McMahon contributed an acoustic version of "Bruised" to Punk Goes Acoustic 2,[60] and an early version of "La La Lie", dubbed the West Coast Winter version, to Punk the Clock Volume Three.[61] The constant touring over the preceding 14 months resulted in McMahon suffering mental exhaustion and physical fatigue. His management said: "The extensive travel has taken a toll on his mind and body - ... [we believe] that it is in his, and his fans', best interest for him to be home so that he can regain his strength." As a result, tour dates in October were cancelled.[62]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AbsolutePunk95%[63]
AllMusic4/5 stars[64]
IGN7.2/10 [65]
Melodic3.5/5 stars [66]
The Morning Call3/5[67]
PopMatters5/10 stars[68]
Sputnikmusic5/5 stars[69]
Ultimate Guitar10/10[70]

Everything in Transit debuted at number 37 of the Billboard 200, selling over 22,000 copies sold in its first week of release.[35] By August 2008, it has sold over 250,000 copies.[71] Orange County Register ranked the album at number 1 on their best local releases of 2005 list,[72] and number 28 on the best albums of the 2000s list.[73]

After going through his diagnosis, McMahon became aware of the affects cancer was having on young adults and founded The Dear Jack Foundation in July 2006.[74] It acts as a non-profit charity to raise funds for cancer research.[75] Footage of the recording sessions, and McMahon's diagnosis and subsequently recovery was released as part of the film Dear Jack in November 2009.[76] Everything in Transit was re-pressed on vinyl in December 2010 and included an a cappella version of "Holiday from Real" and the West Coast Winter version of "La La Lie" as bonus tracks.[77] A 10th anniversary edition of the album, which included bonus tracks, was released in October 2015.[78] This version charted at number 6 on the Vinyl Albums and number 40 on the Catalog Albums charts.[79][80] Following this, the group performed the album in its entirety on tour in December 2015 and January 2016.[81] "Dark Blue" was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in January 2016.[82]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Andrew McMahon.

No.TitleLength
1."Holiday from Real"2:58
2."The Mixed Tape"3:14
3."Bruised"4:02
4."I'm Ready"3:55
5."La La Lie"3:54
6."Dark Blue"4:11
7."Miss Delaney"3:44
8."Kill the Messenger"3:24
9."Rescued"3:56
10."MFEO Pt 1 – Made for Each Other / Pt 2 – You Can Breathe"8:01
Total length:45:33

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Charts (2005) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[84] 37
Charts (2015) Peak
position
US Top Catalog Albums (Billboard)[80] 40
US Vinyl Albums (Billboard)[79] 6

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