Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Album Retrospective: Something Corporate - Leaving Through The Window

Something Corporate sold out two shows in two nights very quickly on their reunion tour to my hometown of Washington DC. Quite a feat for a band that only has two commercially released albums and had been on hiatus for six years. But anyone who grew up a fan of the band as well as younger fans who discovered the band through Jack's Mannequin immediately jumped at the opportunity to see the elusive band live. Any fan knows that the band's cult following began with the extremely influential Leaving Through The Window, a record that started a huge trend of piano-rock as well as launched both the band and Jack's Mannequin to stardom.

Though the instrumentals behind the songs on the album are nothing special, that's not why the band obtained the following they did. Andrew McMahon's lyrics are tailor fit for any teenage girl's profile page or band t-shirt, or a lovestruck boy to listen to and cherish. This lyrical style followed him through his Something Corporate years to Jack's Mannequin, and has continued to be the main focus of his work. But the main reason that Something Corporate has won over so many fans is their way of appealing to a wide variety of fans. For the guys that aren't comfortable enough with their masculinity to blast the "cutesy" tracks on the album should feel well enough to play the rocking "Punk Rock Princess", "If You C Jordan", "Hurricane", and "Fall". "I Woke Up In A Car" should have been an enormous radio hit, and "Cavanaugh Park" is a gut wrenching piano ballad that is captivating to hear live.

Probably the album's strongest suit is that even through fourteen tracks, nothing blends together. Many bands struggle to create one hook the caliber of Something Corporate's average track. The first half of the album in particular has irresistible hooks, as well as plenty of unforgettable moments.  The bridge in "Hurricane" changes on a dime from heavy guitars to an intense and emotional piano solo, as well as possibly the best verse on the album. The competing verse for that title is the second verse into the chorus in "Cavanaugh Park", which is another moment of McMahon's masterful songwriting. The second half is slightly weaker than the first, but songs such as "Fall", "Straw Dog", and "You're Gone" are classics in their own right. I can safely say there isn't a generally weak moment on the album.

Leaving Through The Window is one of a few albums that have ever struck me from the first listen. Some people may prefer North, but I feel there's no contest. Though North is more of a winter record focused more on piano rather than the guitar of Leaving Through The Window, many of the songs simply aren't as strong. However, that's more of a praise onto Something Corporate's major label debut record than a critique of North, as Leaving Through The Window is easily a classic pop-punk (or simply pop if you disagree with the classification of pop-punk) record, and will be an album that keeps a place in my heart (and library) for years and years to come.

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