Dear Jack

You guys know my Holy Trinity by now, right? Well, I don't know how I've held out so long, but I'm finally going to introduce you all to its third member. This post is going to be long and emotional.

In 2002, when I was avidly into Indian music and not so up to date on what was going on in the American music scene, a family friend, who I happened to have an enormous crush on, was very into punk rock. Once, at his house, he made me listen to this amazing song: "I Woke Up In A Car" by Something Corporate. I remember trying to familiarize myself with some of their other stuff, so I'd have more stuff to talk about with this boy, and really just loving the whole sound of the music. Then I had a pretty lengthy rap phase through eighth grade, and sort of lost touch.

Freshman year of high school, someone made me listen to "She Paints Me Blue" after a debate tournament, when I hadn't even known they had a new album out. The piano on the song was beautiful. It was a much more melodic, less angsty sound that made my heart beat faster every time I heard it. I heard it at a time I was head over heels for a boy that had just moved away and so the sense of loss in the song really resounded with me. I found another favorite that really moved me, "Konstantine," and in those days, I couldn't sleep without the lull of those two songs.

Then, a few months later, everything changed. On a night after I'd had a particularly terrible fight with my parents, I saw a pretty little lyric on a friend's AIM away message: "Dark blue, dark blue, have you ever been alone in a crowded room?" I Googled the song, and listened to it for the first time way past midnight on February 12th. I was pretty sure I had rediscovered God. This song changed my life. To this day, I listen to it every day, more than once sometimes. It's the song that's my every-mood song; if I'm happy it makes me happier. If I'm upset, it consoles me. If I'm feeling frustration, the melody brings tears to relieve it. I couldn't say enough about this song to make you understand what it's meant to me.

I soon found that the band that sung it, Jack's Mannequin, had been started by the guy from Something Corporate, one Andrew McMahon. Needless to say, when I started driving, these CDs were the first in my car. Every song on Everything In Transit struck something in me. I found out he'd been diagnosed with leukemia, but I didn't know much about it until 2008, when Jack's Mannequin put out their second record, The Glass Passenger. I'd never heard cancer described quite like in "Caves." I could hear the pain of distance from great friends (which I was feeling since I'd just moved to San Diego for school) sung boldly in "Hammers and Strings (A Lullaby)" and the most breathtaking arrangement I'd ever heard on "Swim."

Then, I saw him live for the first time. At one point, sometime after Dark Blue, I just stopped dancing, stopped singing along, and started crying. The tears just wouldn't stop, and all I could do was smile so big because I was finally, finally seeing this talented powerhouse in concert. I cried all the way to the end of the show and probably a little more after that, and I think by the end, my friend was a little worried, haha. Later, I saw the documentary, Dear Jack he made about his time in treatment. "Saw" might be the wrong word, really, because I was bleary-eyed and sobbing almost the whole time.

Andrew McMahon inspires me. His music has put so much life in my world and when Jack's Mannequin announced their latest tour, I couldn't not go. So, for this, you will find me driving three hours up to Ventura in June to see him play...again.


  1. A+ post! Such feeling and truth-- I've never really understand your whole Andrew McMahon thing until right now. Now, off to go listen to them... :)

  2. I love Jack's Mannequin. Especially Caves.


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