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Mace & Crown | December 17, 2017

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Monarch Music Minute

Lindsey Lanham | Staff Writer

Andrew McMahon Blasts Off

‘Zombies On Broadway’ – Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

Andrew McMahon made his initial mark on the alternative genre with the release of his self-titled, debut album. Securing a dedicated fan base with the hit track “Cecilia and the Satellite,” everyone was anxious to see what he would release next.

“Fire Escape” is a radio-ready, pop hit that has an easy flow and fun lyrics. Being the first single dropped since his debut album, “Fire Escape” is reminiscent to McMahon’s original sound.

“Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me” was the second track to be dropped off his new album. The song features a Twenty One Pilots-esque rap sequence but also showcases McMahon’s vocal range. Vastly different from his first album, this track alluded to the album being more of a contemporary alternative, hip-hop sound many artists have adapted to.

“Zombies On Broadway” keeps up the energy that “Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me” first introduces, but it’s by no means the Twenty One Pilots pop sound that fans were expecting. Rather, McMahon kept in touch with his original sound. Tracks like “So Close” sound like they came straight off his debut album.

“Zombies” features typical McMahon lyricism in bubblegum pop choruses and honest verses. The height of the album is “Don’t Speak For Me (Truth).” McMahon is at the top of his game when he is emotional. “Zombies” is about as cathartic as it gets, giving the listener something relatable to listen to.

A brutally honest track, “Dead Man’s Dollar” describes the troubles McMahon sees his family go through as he’s on tour. McMahon croons “I know this isn’t easy / You got that baby sleeping all by yourself / Feels like I’m always leaving / I swear to God, one day I’ll be there to help.”

“Zombies On Broadway” is fun, honest and a great record for road trips. Fans old and new will be able to sing along with the catchy hooks, but still get depth out of the complex, layered music.

Andrew McMahon is bringing “Zombies on Broadway” to The NorVa on April 15.

Notable Tracks – “Brooklyn, You’re Killing Me,” “Don’t Speak For Me (Truth)” and “Dead Man’s Dollar”

Singles Released:

1. ‘HUMBLE.’ – Kendrick Lamar
“SIT DOWN. BE HUMBLE.” What may be everyone’s official new slogan of 2017, “HUMBLE.” is the prelude of what we hope is Kendrick Lamar’s fourth full-length album. Accompanied with a music video for the ages, “HUMBLE.” is going to be Lamar’s song of the year. In typical Lamar fashion, “HUMBLE.” is unabashed and direct. Quips like “Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks” give the song a quirky, honest feeling that Lamar always excels at.

2. ‘Don’t Take the Money’ – Bleachers
After major success with their debut album “Strange Desire,” Bleachers are back. “Don’t Take the Money” is a fun, anthemic song that I already find myself singing along to despite only being out for a few short days. Featuring Lorde on backup vocals, it seems frontman Jack Antonoff is back in a big way. Presumably a single off their new album, if the rest of the record sounds anything like this track, fans are in for a treat.

3. ‘Now or Never’ – Halsey
The queen of angst and drama has returned. Just like “Badlands,” “Now or Never” features the same star-crossed love story that much of her debut album does. “Now or Never” takes a turn musically, though, featuring some old school R&B with a lustful mood. Halsey also makes her directing debut in the accompanying music video, a story about a banished love. The indie pop star has definitely changed course and introduced a more low-key urban feel with “Now or Never.” Her second album, “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom,” is scheduled to be released on June 2.

4. ‘No Such Thing as a Broken Heart’ – Old Dominion
Officially the first release off their second album, Old Dominion is back with a summer-ready track. “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart” is your typical country-pop track, and will be on everyone’s summer playlist. There’s nothing too complicated about it, but that’s what makes it enjoyable. As lead singer Matthew Ramsey croons, “You gotta love like there’s no such thing as a broken heart,” the song becomes everyone’s new Instagram caption. It’s fun and it’s easy, but in typical Old Dominion fashion, there isn’t much to say about it.

5. ‘In Cold Blood’ – Alt-J
Three years after the release of “This is All Yours,” Alt-J have started releasing singles from their new album “Relaxer.” “In Cold Blood,” starts off with what we can only guess is binary code. As lead singer Joe Newman repeats a series of “zeroes” and “ones,” the song quickly builds from a simple beat to a complex mix of horns and guitar riffs. A big change from the slow pace of their first single off the album, “3WW,” this track is fast-paced and intense. The last line, “in cold blood,” is worthy of the mic drop it gets. Definitely more pop than the usual Alt-J style, “In Cold Blood” may be a turn in a new direction, but it’s definitely a good direction.