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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Motion City Soundtrack: Even If It Kills Me (2007)

This album cover is so pretty, I am obsessed with the colors...

Motion City Soundtrack (consisting of Joshua Cain, Jesse Johnson, Justin Pierre, Matthew Taylor and Tony Thaxton) is a great pop punk band from Minneapolis, Minnesota. They aren’t as big as Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance, but their hit single off of the smart and catchy 2005 album Commit This To Memory, “Everything Is Alright” was played incessantly, and I don’t even listen to the radio (It’s still a great song regardless). I think what sets this band apart from the other pop punk breed is lead singer Justin Pierre’s dynamic and interesting voice as well their tongue-in-cheek, self-referential lyrics and use of the moog synthesizer. Plus their songs are great fun and they don’t take themselves too seriously or act like they don’t take themselves too seriously. With trepidation I approach the issue that most fans of the genre take with ALL their bands with each new album. They complain that these bands lose their “punk-edge” and songs get softer. Honestly if you thought Fall Out Boy was a real punk rock band to begin with, what the hell was Green Day then? The Dead Kennedys? Anyways, these bands are pop punk and they produce fun sugary songs about the times when our lives feel more dramatic than they actually are. Unlike most of these bands I appreciate Motion City Soundtrack because they don’t go overboard with the theatrics. With that said Even If It Kills Me (their third album) is a solid record that does what Motion City soundtrack does best. The first single “Broken Heart” produced by Ric Ocasek (He produces about half the record) takes everything great about their last album and combines it into one fun little song about not getting so obsessed and over dramatic when it comes to heartache. Justin Pierre's words role off the tongue, “But I get carried away/with every phrase and made up malady/The longer I hide behind these lies/The more I disintegrate/…But I never get used to it, you just have to live with it.” Every Emo kid should be taking notes right now. Possibly my favorite track “Can’t Finish What You Started” is quite soulful and has some of the best melodies and harmonies on the entire album. This song gets pretty self-referential about the writing process and I always enjoy songs that talk about trying to write something. The end of this song gets me every time. Another highlight is "Point Of Extinction" with the greatest hook they’ve probably written, “I'm so tired/I've had enough/If there's one thing I've learned/You'll always get burned/But you'll never give it up.” After the first listen you’ll be singing it at the top of your lungs. I am a bit sad that the Moog and the synths get buried in the mix a bit, but they work in subtler ways. Traditional piano is more prominent this time around and it’s a welcome addition. I must say Tony Thaxton’s drumming on the entire album is fantastic and I find myself air-drumming along as often as I am able handed (air-drumming while biking is not recommended). Overall Motion City Soundtrack put out a satisfying follow up with Even If It Kills Me. They remind me why pop punk is so fun, so successful and so divisive; they tap into the part in all of us that desperately cries out whenever bad things happen, “This means something, this is important! Please listen and sing along with me.”

Motion City Soundtrack-“Point Of Extinction”

Motion City Soundtrack on myspace
Epitaph Records


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