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Cecilia, cars & more: Andrew McMahon gets “reflective” on new Wilderness album, ‘Tilt at the Wind No More’

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Between his bands Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin and his solo Wilderness project, Andrew McMahon‘s never gone too long without releasing new music. With the latest Wilderness album, though, McMahon ended up taking his time.

Tilt at the Wind No More arrives Friday, five years after 2018’s Upside Down Flower. During that gap, McMahon wrote and published a memoir, Three Pianos, and, like the rest of us, tried to grapple with a worldwide pandemic.

“By the time I came back into the world of the music, it was the longest hiatus I’ve really had,” McMahon tells ABC Audio.

He laughs, “And that includes the time I took for cancer.”

When it came time to write and record Tilt at the Wind No More, McMahon found himself in a “reflective” place. Longtime fans may find themselves looking back, too, while listening to songs such as “Lying on the Hood of Your Car,” which will probably remind you of Something Corporate’s “I Woke Up in a Car.”

“At that point [‘I Woke Up in a Car’] was this very hopeful kid in a car, in your van with your band driving across the country for the first time,” McMahon says. “Weirdly, with ‘Lying on the Hood of Your Car,’ it’s almost looking back at the time around or before then and feeling that pang of nostalgia, and how deeply those experiences have impacted me and stuck with me.”

Meanwhile, the closing track, “Smoke & Ribbons,” features singing by McMahon’s daughter, Cecilia, who inspired the breakout Wilderness single, “Cecilia and the Satellite.”

“I think there’s a lot that I’ve learned that’s built into these lyrics,” McMahon says. “So to close out the album singing it with her knowing that she’s got this crazy journey ahead of her was pretty special.”

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