Motion City Soundtrack - My Dinosaur Life
Record Label: Columbia Records
Release Date: January 19, 2010
Brett Favre just won't retire. Well, he has retired, twice, but he hasn't gone away yet. Brett is 40 now and he's playing for his third NFL team. After a terrible year with the New York Jets in the 2008-2009 season, he more than just bounced back this year with the Minnesota Vikings. He had the best season of his 19-year career at the age of 40 years old, which in professional football might as well be dead.
Don't call it a comeback, call it a return to form.
While Motion City Soundtrack haven't been around quite as long as Brett Favre, the band surface with a return-to-form album with My Dinosaur Life. The follow-up to often criticized Even If It Kills Me is Motion City Soundtrack's best album to date. Motion City are the latest band to fall into that trend, where a group gains immense success and popularity, then release an album that seems just a little different from the others before regaining momentum with full steam (think New Found Glory with Coming Home). After experimenting with more poppy territory on their last offering and seemingly losing that brainy indie rock sound that sets them apart from other bands in the genre, Motion City Soundtrack find their game again and it is evident from the first song.
Also evident from opener "Worker Bee" is the honesty that Justin Pierre has poured out of his pen this time around. Finally writing about his personal struggles in the form of his prose, Pierre kicks off the album stating that "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 entire song is juiced with a never-slowing guitar and is one of the hardest rockers on My Dinosaur Life. Following suit of the first song, "A Lifeless Ordinary (Need a Little Help)" shows MCS's rocking side, complimented by a slightly more pop-infused performance by Pierre. This leads listeners into first single "Her Words Destroyed My Planet", which I'm glad to announce is a shining example of a single actually displaying a good window into what the album sounds like. After the first verse is when I was convinced that Motion City were their old selves again. With Commit This to Memory being my favorite album by the group, "Her Words" was excellent to hear as MCS brings back the car-stereo ready sound found on that album, specifically during the short instrumental part after the first verse. This may be the most honest track on the most honest album that Pierre has written: "If we only stayed together / I might not have fallen apart / But the words you said destroyed my planet / I stall before I start / Anything at all."
The band doesn't take a break with "Disappear" and "Delirium", the former being another fast paced ride through the clever wordplay that fans have become to associate Pierre with, and the latter displaying what seems to be a look into the mind of a psych ward patient. "Stand Too Close", which might be the catchiest song on My Dinosaur Life, will most likely see great success as a single and on the radio, as it is short and sugary enough to entertain the masses that don't really appreciate whole albums. This brings us to "Pulp Fiction", without a doubt my favorite song on the record. It's a feel-good number with lyrical allusions to the film after which it is named. The instrumentals on the song make it just as catchy as "Stand Too Close", but it isn't in the right form to take on the role of a single. "@!#?@!" is perfectly named as Pierre abuses the microphone with more than a few curse words. This song and its successor, "Hysteria", show the variety that Motion City have put into My Dinosaur Life, including hard rockers and head-bangers, catchy made-for-radio numbers, and tracks that seem to serve best as vessels for the words that spilled out of Pierre's beautiful mind.
Nearing the end of the album, "Skin and Bones" is another time-travel trip to Commit This to Memory, its highlight being a chorus that goes down smooth. Closer "The Weakends" starts slow, then punches you in the mouth with dueling guitar work and, again, a lyrical effort where the listener could not ask for more. Pierre's work on this album reminds me of Max Bemis in that he has said exactly what he wanted to say without any regrets or hesitations. Only a handful of albums have left me so thankful for the work of a lyricist, even though coincidentally MDL is one of two albums this month to leave me with that feeling (The Upsides). Like I said, this is Motion City Soundtrack's best work, the perfect storm of Commit This to Memory and the best parts of Even If It Kills Me.
In reference to band's entire discography, this is amateur at best. I love the energy and drive kids have to write reviews, I love that, but to say suggest it sounds like "motion city soundtrack" in severely un-researched.