CD Review: Motion City Soundtrack / My Dinosaur Life
Reviewed by: Ryan Labbe
Motion City Soundtrack’s last album, Even if it Kills Me, was their most commercially successful, yet, ironically, left fans feeling like something was lacking, especially when compared to their previous releases, I am the Movie and Commit This to Memory. The Minneapolis, MN group, however, has righted any wrongs and started 2010 off on a positive note, releasing My Dinosaur Life, their first album on Columbia Records and their first release on a major label. As a whole, My Dinosaur Life is an album teeming with honest lyrics and hooks that even the most jaded fan can hang their hats on.
The album’s opener, “Worker Bee”, begins with strumming guitars and provide backdrop for lead singer/guitarist Justin Pierre’s lyrics: “It’s been a good year, a good new beginning. I’m through with the old school so let’s commence the winning. I’ve been a good little worker bee, I deserve a gold star.” The band then kicks in full force, with Joshua Cain leading the way on guitar, Jesse Johnson on moog/synthesizer/keyboard, Matthew Taylor’s booming bass lines and Tony Thaxton hammering out the backbeat.
“Disappear,” the album’s first single, is pure rock fun. A charging, emergent chorus gives way to a boisterous, catchy chorus. “I can disappear any time I want to, time I feel you shovel thorough my skin, I am with you ‘till the end. “ It’s a worthy single and a good representation of the album.
Steady strumming guitars introduce “Her Words Destroyed My Planet” as Pierre belts out the details of a failed relationship. His loss is the listeners gain, as this is one of my favorite tracks on the album. “I still futz with that tourniquet,” laments Pierre, “I tried to squeeze on your dreams, slung it on, it’s a perfect fit, what do you suppose that means?” The chorus is pop punk glory, making for one of the most fun moments on My Dinosaur Life. “If we’d only stayed together, I might not have fallen apart,” sings Pierre. Anyone can write a break-up song, but Motion City Soundtrack do so in a way that cuts through generalities and banal clichés, and provides a heartfelt look at life after love.
“Skin and Bones,” “Stand Too Close, and “@!#?”@!” are other noteworthy tracks, with well-crafted lyrics, smart hooks and big, melodic choruses that are sure to burrow their way into your head for days and secure My Dinosaur Life a regular spot on your play list.
The album’s final track, “The Weakends” begins with a slow steady drumbeat and clean guitars, but quickly becomes a thick wall of sound as the rest of the band join in. The verse repeats the intro melody but at a faster pace, as Pierre and company build up to the chorus, a grandiose declaration, “I’ll kick tomorrow, fight back in the pouring rain, I’ll send the weak ends down the train, down the drain.” Fuzz laded guitars play out the track’s final notes, closing out My Dinosaur Life, Motion City Soundtrack’s latest, and possibly greatest, album to date.