Motion City Soundtrack – My Dinosaur Life

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

Motion City Soundtrack

My Dinosaur Life - Columbia Records

When Epitaph re-released Motion City Soundtrack’s self-released debut I Am The Movie in 2003, people instantly took note. There was something there that deserved attention. It was a unique mixture of pop-punk with synth melodies and Justin Pierre’s unique vocal styles and lyrical quirkiness made songs likeMy Favorite Accident and The Future Freaks Me Out become instant scene favourites. It was something that the band constantly tried to recreate but always fell short and with each passing release, Motion City Soundtrack lost their quirkiness and instead started to become a generic – and oftentimes bland – pop-punk band until it cumulated with the almost entirely forgettable Even If It Kills Me.

Therefore, their announcement that they’d be joining Columbia Records to make My Dinosaur Life their major label debut brought fear and doubt into many fans’ minds. Would having a major label pushing them make their already overly-polished sound even shinier? Would it become just another generic release to get lost in the major label structure? Would it be boring?

Luckily, the answer to all of those is a resounding no. Instead of becoming another overly-polished effort from a major label, Motion City Soundtrack have delivered their most cohesive, energetic and memorable release since their debut. The Mark Hoppus produced album has a classic pop-punk feel to it, creating a sound that is smooth but not overtly so, accessible but not boring, polished but not bland.

They’re no longer relying on gimmicks to sell their music but have honed their song writing skills and written some of their best songs of their careers. Justin Pierre’s vocals are the strongest they’ve ever been. They still have his unique delivery to them but no longer reaching for those high notes every second couplet. Now when he stretches his vocals out there’s an added benefit to it – like the high-pitched “mother fuckers” in @!#?@!.

The acoustic introduction to History Lesson makes it sound like your defector acoustic number but it soon grows and becomes a rocking sing-along with a perfect pop edge. Stand Too Close has a near Weezer like quality to its mixture of piano, hand claps and acoustic guitar. In a way, the song is the clear example of what Motion City Soundtrack has given us on My Dinosaur Life: catchy, up-tempo, hook-laden pop-punk with some fantastically cheeky lyrics like “I have apologized a billion timesWhen I’ve gone off the wall like Busta Rhymes;” although the best line still comes on Her Words Destroyed My Planet where Pierre softly sings “I fell asleep watching Veronica Mars again” at the end of the first verse.

The album is by no means perfect but is in undeniably fun and catchy – something that Even If It Kills Me was lacking; and unlike its predecessor, My Dinosaur Life becomes more enjoyable the more you listen to it.