Andrew McMahon’s new Pop Underground EP has the singer/songwriter going in new directions in several different ways. It’s hard to judge four songs in the context of McMahon because up to now he’s only released albums, but that’s what’s happening anyway. These four songs are a nice sample size of where McMahon is at artistically right now.
McMahon’s new EP is different on the surface for a number of reasons. It’s less piano-based and more synth-based. Lyrically, McMahon is in a place where he’s in his late 30’s and not in his mid 20’s so there’s a lot McMahon reflecting on different years. McMahon also gets to self-release this EP so there are no outside influences affecting the music in any way. It’s just Andrew McMahon, and what he wants to put out. Past that, all four of these songs are likable, but you’ll find a few nuances to each one that either makes it lose whatever momentum it had or it makes it unique.
Pop Underground works because it’s different. Is it a permanent new direction? WIth him being independent it’s hard to say, but if nothing else. Pop Underground is a unique entry into McMahon’s overall discography.