Back For Another Year: A Decade Of ‘Everything In Transit’

Fun fact about me: I’ve never left the eastern seaboard. I’ve traveled all the way up to Maine and down to Florida, but I always find myself glued to the longitudinal area upon which I entered this world. When I was looking at colleges in high school and so many of my friends were ready to travel hours away to far away places, I had trouble leaving my quaint little town near the beach where I grew up and forged an identity.

I’ve yet to find an album that so accurately conveys the feeling of identity and home like Jack’s Mannequin’s debut record, Everything In Transit, which celebrated its tenth anniversary last week. Written by then-Something Corporate frontman Andrew McMahon after returning to his Los Angeles home from a rigorous touring schedule, Everything In Transit is an ode to the carefree California beachfront lifestyle and McMahon’s place in it. Each brilliantly executed pop track on this record bleeds sun-drenched summer vibes; the squawking seagulls that lead into opening track “Holiday From Real,” the spoken-word interlude in “I’m Ready” where McMahon asks the listener to break free from the boring pop song of life, and the end-of-summer carnival atmosphere that drives the penultimate “MFEO.” While I’ve liked just about everything else McMahon has released, the endless Summer energy that he was able to bottle for Everything In Transit makes for an extraordinarily special release.


Perhaps most of the record’s allure stems from the memorable lyrics; Everything In Transit is a marvel in the art of honest lyricism. I’ve always loved the small mementos that McMahon scatters over the record: mentions of inconsequential artifacts like his favorite sweater, four aspirin, an unwashed t-shirt, and the mattress in his basement ground his lyricism while diving further into the summer-fueled romanticism of tracks like “Dark Blue.” Rather than diving directly into the surprisingly dark themes with which the record deals, McMahon paints a gorgeous world in which Everything In Transit will always exist, suspended in time.

While the record has always existed in my life as the first album I play each May when the sun shines its must-needed face, there’s a dark poignancy within that keeps it fresh ten years later. McMahon wrote and recorded the album while living unknowingly with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and complications from the undiagnosed illness forced him to cancel shows three months before the record’s release. He was diagnosed in early June of 2005, on the final day of mastering for the record. With this information in mind, Everything In Transit becomes a very different record. Suddenly, it’s clear why McMahon looks much-too-thin and sick in “Holiday From Real” while taking pills as the babies cry in “Bruised.” Bearing McMahon’s illness in mind, Everything In Transit becomes a record less about how fun summer is and more about about never wasting a day and living life to the absolute fullest.

Ten years later, Everything In Transit still stands unmatched in its league. Each and every song on this record not only holds up, but beats out a considerable amount of the pop music in 2015. If you’ve yet to fall into the endless allure of the record, there are still about three weeks left in the summer of 2015. There’s no better time to turn on Everything In Transit; close your eyes and listen to the birds.

John Bazley
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2 Responses to “Back For Another Year: A Decade Of ‘Everything In Transit’”

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  2. amcrni says:

    Yes to all of this. I don’t live in a beach town but this record made me want to. I fell in love with SoCo in high school, then this came out and changed everything even more for the better. I still return to this album 10 years out. I’m listening right now and plan to order the vinyl bundle in about 20 minutes when it goes live. Everything about this album is perfection. It’s like lightning in a bottle. It’s sunny on the surface but darker underneath.