Motion City Soundtrack – “My Dinosaur Life”

Minnesota-based  pop-punk band Motion City Soundtrack are back again with their fourth studio album, My Dinosaur Life – an infectious album filled with punk-rock hooks and choruses so catchy, even swine flu is afraid of it! Now, admittedly, I’m probably a little late to the game as far as being into Motion City Soundtrack goes, as if you ask anyone who was into Jimmy Eat World from an early point in their music career then they’ll probably tell you that Motion City Soundtrack have been around for quite a while and have done very well for themselves too. So, yes, admittedly buying this album now is probably a little late, but after hearing My Dinosaur Life I’ve decided it’s definitely better late than never!

Motion City Soundtrack have had a varied career, to say the least. Their first album, I Am The Movie, was a self-released debut which lead to the incredibly popular, multi-selling album Commit This To Memory which featured the huge single Everything Is Alright (which was produced by Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 fame). This lead to them being swept up by punk label Epitaph Records, after which they then released their follow up Even If It Kills Me, which only increased their popularity. Now, My Dinosaur Life is set to keep that trend on the rise and bring many more fans into the world of Motion City Soundtrack – one of pop-punk finesse and emotive, witty lyrics that are truly unique to their style.

Scruffy-haired Justin Pierre brings his own unique take on song writing to Motion City Soundtrack, which is probably what makes the songs on My Dinosaur Life so interesting. Clearly, being somewhat self-deprecating and overly confessional but at the same time having an entirely witty point of view pays off in the favour of uniqueness! Obviously, it helps their case that My Dinosaur Life has been wholly produced by Mark Hoppus, so they clearly have part of punk rock history on their side, but there’s only so far that can carry them and it’s their lyrics and music that have to do the rest of the work. And clearly the work has paid off, strangely enough, with the opening song on the album being titled Worker Bee

Worker Bee makes a great album opener, starting off deceptively slow and melodic but then suddenly breaking out with more energy and punch, with the melodies in the chorus reaching sky-high levels. The lyrics “I’ve been a good little worker bee, I deserve a gold star” are just the first of many examples of Justin Pierre’s observant wit in his lyric writing skills, and is an excellent taster of what’s to come over the next 40 minutes of the album.

The big single release of My Dinosaur Life is the song Her Words Destroyed My Planet, and it’s easy to see why this is when its awesomely melodic and truly catchy chorus comes in. This is reminiscent of the Jimmy Eat World kind of song style that got them to where they are, and when you mix that with Motion City Soundtrack’s mix of slightly witty and truly heartfelt lyrics like “I’m drowning in memories, call it residual blues. I fell asleep watching Veronica Mars again”, you know you’re listening to something of its own class. Her Words Destroyed My Planet is an amazing example of exactly what Motion City Soundtrack are great at doing – taking subjects that people can relate to, putting a witty spin on them and laying them over the top of some truly catchy punk rock riffs and melodies.

Disappear is a stutter-y staccato song that grabs your attention and makes you listen closely with its punk rock crunch and fast tempo. This is an interesting contrast to a later song History Lesson, which brings out a slightly more acoustic, folk-punk led side to Justin Pierre and is a noticeable change of pace from the punk rock aesthetics of the rest of the album. Similar things can be said of the next song Stand Too Close also, which is by far a slower and almost romantic, open-hearted affair, creating a slower mid-ground of the overall album.

Pulp Fiction brings some of the pace back to the rest of the album, and along with that are more lyrics that make you pause and think of the contrast of images they create, such as “It’s like a slasher film; I’m torn in opposite directions”. Following this is example is the song @!#?@!, possibly one of the stranger songs on the album, with its refrain of “You all need to leave me and my sensitive home-boys alone”. Even though this may be somewhat honest opinions from Pierre, the line of “what if there’s nothing more to us, we’re just carbon-based, we’re just pixie dust” in Skin And Bones perhaps takes the cake, but this is obviously for a reason as it comes across as a cynical deconstruction of who we really are.

Album closer The Weakends starts off slow and then breaks out with some forceful punk rock riffs and heartfelt melodies into one of Motion City Soundtrack’s highest points of My Dinosaur Life, leaving you with an upbeat sense of things.

Overall, My Dinosaur Life is one of Motion City Soundtrack’s slightly more gritty edge, and is definitely a complex listen but it’s definitely worth it for its beautiful melodies and its witty sense of humour about genuine day-to-day cultural situations. This is definitely another huge step in Motion City Soundtrack’s career, and My Dinosaur Life is definitely going to be a turning point for them in both their career and their style. And if this keeps up, you can be sure I’ll be coming back for more!

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2 Comments

  1. Motion City Soundtrack have always been an amazing band, even better in person. I want to fall asleep watching Veronica Mars!

    • Yes, theres definitely something about this album that is just fun to listen to. It’s bright and sunny in the right places, has a little touch of rock, punk, pop-punk and folk at different places, and the lyrics just phrase things in such interesting ways that there’s something new you notice on the next few listens. Generally just a pretty great album!


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