My life has become a boring pop song and everyone’s singing along

Did you know that there are TWO Emmy celebrations? The actual Emmys were this weekend, but there’s also the “Creative Emmys” which take place a week before.

I just learned about this second celebration (though I guess technically it’s the “first”, in chronological terms) this year because Andrew McMahon was nominated for the song he wrote for Smash.

I am an Andrew McMahon fangirl. Over the past 12-15 years, he’s released music under three different monikers, and I firmly stand by each and every one of them.

I wish I had listened to Something Corporate when they first came out, but I was 10, and didn’t really listen to anything outside of what was played at my house. (This is a particularly shocking revelation if you know me now, since 90% of my free time is spent at a concert/talking about/listening to/downloading music.) But I was lucky enough to attend their 10 year reunion tour in August 2010, and it was a fantastic show. I often tell people that the first time I almost cried at a concert was when I heard “Konstantine” live especially when the audience (including me) sang along to all 9.5 minutes of it.

If you could be my punk rock princess, I would be your garage band king.

After SoCo went on “hiatus” (i.e. they broke up) in 2005-ish, Andrew turned his attention to his side project, Jack’s Mannequin.  This was when – after a friend made me listen to “Bruised” in grade 11 – I was first introduced to his wonderful lyrical story-telling. It remains one of my most favourite songs of all time. To be honest, I don’t think I really listened to the rest of his songs at the time (except maybe “Dark Blue” and “Miss Delaney”), but when I finally listened to the first Jack’s album, Everything in Transit, in full, I was hooked. I saw Jack’s live in January 2012 and lost my mind so many times, I can’t even tell you.

Have you ever been alone in a crowded room?

At the end of last summer, Andrew retired “Jack’s Mannequin” and decided to release music under his own name. So far, he’s put out one 4-song EP this year, “The Pop Underground”. Much to my delight, when he went on tour supporting O.A.R., he played a solo show in Toronto (he played songs from all 3 of his incarnations). This was in early July – July 8th, exactly. I’ll probably never forget that show because it was the day of the huge storm  – you know, the one that resulted in subway stations being flooded? – which I walked through, because there was no way I was going to miss him. And even though I was soaked to the bone, and it took 3 days for my shoes to dry…it was a completely worth it.

I see colours when I hear your voice.

One of the best parts of any Andrew McMahon show – regardless of which band he’s touring with – is the part where he climbs onto his piano and stomps out the last part of the song with his feet. You would think that playing the piano with your feet would result in unpleasant, discordant noise, but it’s actually delightful, both to hear and to see.

I realize this post has gushed on for a bit, so I’ll wrap it up.

One other amazing aspect of Andrew McMahon is that he successfully defeated leukemia about 8 years ago – right as he left SoCo, shortly after recording “Everything in Transit”. He filmed all the big moments of his illness and released it as a documentary, “Dear Jack”. If you ever need to gain perspective on your life, if you ever feel like it couldn’t get worse, watch it – and realize that he was only 22, battling a terminal disease, but still managed to stay (relatively) optimistic through the whole thing.

Obviously he survived, but I still tear up watching it- especially when he starts losing his hair…

I’m just going to put it out there: Andrew McMahon is a legend.

“Swim for the music that saves you when you’re not so sure you’ll survive.”

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