Almost four years since his last full-length, Andrew McMahon — dba Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, but you knew that — has returned with two new singles typical of the keen songcraft that has carried him through three projects over two decades.
McMahon, who last fall published his memoir, “Three Pianos,” and recently celebrated his 40th birthday with a show in his native Orange County, is casting his gaze skyward in both new tracks, which were co-produced with Tommy English and Jeremy Hatcher. “Skywriting,” co-written by K. Flay and released today, draws a parallel with the creative process.
“Creating for a living, you want every song to be your biggest, every lyric to be your best, but in the end, it takes time to know whether or not what you’ve made will outlast you or at least the moment of its creation,” McMahon says. “When I think about the act of skywriting it really is a perfect metaphor, not just for creating but for living. It’s a big gesture to own a place in the clouds even if it’s just for a moment. To share a bit of yourself on a big stage no matter who looks up to find you there. In the grand scheme of things, what we think will last is, in fact, temporary, so maybe doing something daring and beautiful is really what it’s all about.”
Today’s release follows August’s celestial “Stars,” which features singer-songwriter Ella Vos on backing vocals. Twinkle, twinkle, indeed.
“I do love the imagery in the chorus of stars falling through a rooftop. I always see imagery like the kids book ‘The Little Prince,’” McMahon says. “The song is really about how loving someone can be both beautiful and painful. How the hardships and joy visited upon the person you love become your own. When you really love someone, you love them baggage and all. ‘The stars that fell for you left holes in my roof.’ ‘They fell for you and I’m falling too.’ The genesis of this song is mapped out in the first verse. A night of drinking, a misunderstanding in a bar, and everything that follows. Some of my best love songs find me in the morning after an argument. When the dust settles and you realize you’re still in love with all the messiness and good and thank god you’re loved the same.”
McMahon plays a (sold-out) show at the Hotel Café, along with Vos. In other news, McMahon’s original band, the pop-punk outfit Something Corporate, will reunite to play When We Were Young in October 2023.
||| Watch: The video for “Stars”
||| Also: Stream “Skywriting”