Christmas Present: Jack’s Mannequin’s “The Lights and Buzz”


For today’s entry, we wind the clock back a few years to a group that, at the time, was billed as a solo side project for an artist from a band (who this year broke up from said “side project,” which had ultimately become a band itself, to record solo).

Jack’s Mannequin, the group led by Andrew McMahon, had already released its first album in 2005, amid a leukemia diagnosis for McMahon, when holiday single “The Lights and Buzz” was released, the first song recorded after a stem cell transplant.

That explains lyrics such as “It’s Good to be Alive,” as well as the moodier take compared to the Jack’s debut album.  That said, it retains a lot of the pop charm that is a hallmark of McMahon’s output, and is a particularly enjoyable selection each year for me, nearly a decade later.

Additional listening

The first single from Jack’s Mannequin’s second album, “The Glass Passenger,” is a song called “The Resolution,” which also has lyrical references to his recovery.

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