Motion City Soundtrack had reached an all-time appeal with their sophomore album Commit This To Memory before following up with the equally respectable and emotionally revealing Even If It Kills Me. But the band saved their best for My Dinosaur Life, a natural, mature and fun progression of their sound that still manages to retain all the lovable and catchy elements of their synth-aided brand of pop punk that makes Motion City Soundtrack so endearing. But while the group clearly enjoys this fourth album, My Dinosaur Life hits the hardest with an alternative rock verve as a logical advancement of their sound and the peak of their artistic evolution. Returning to their I Am The Movie roots a little bit, Motion City Soundtrack’s fourth record places a heavier focus on rocking out like they haven’t done since their original debut. Only My Dinosaur Life has a completely polished sound and holds fast the infectious synth beats, drum rhythms, buzzing guitar riffs and Justin Pierre’s wonderful vocals, which fluctuate between perfect melody and urgently strained wails. All in all, My Dinosaur Life rocks harder and more enjoyably than anything in the band’s discography, making it an instant classic.
The smooth purr of Joshua Cain’s electric guitar, Jesse Johnson’s lighthearted synth riff and the agreeable addition of kazoos kick off “Her Words Destroyed My Planet,” the best track of My Dinosaur Life. Pierre’s seemingly random declarations and awkward revelations amuse as always, but they still also convey the truth of the songwriter’s emotions and give the song its endearing qualities, shown best as Pierre swoons for each animated chorus: “If we’d only stayed together / I might not have fallen apart / But the words you served destroyed my planet / I stall before I start, I stall before I start anything at all.”
Showing off Motion City Soundtrack’s new flair a more vivacious brand of alternative rock is “Disappear,” a stellar head-banger with the heaviest and most lively chorus of the album. Featuring a sprightly and contagious drum beat from Tony Thaxton and sultry growl of Matthew Taylor’s bass, this single packs a real punch, emphasized by Pierre’s forcibly strained vocals and explosive guitar riffs.
Inspired by the cult classic film with the same name, “Pulp Fiction” is one of the few songs that gives in to its electro-influenced catchiness, as synthesizers light up this incredibly enjoyable track. Each chorus gives way to harmonizing guitar riffs and Pierre’s equally melodic voice as he delivers a typical MCS-sing-along chorus: “It’s like a bad dream, something from the back of a magazine / Black and white and cheaply put together like a slasher film / I’m torn in opposite directions / The plot sucks, but the killings are gorgeous.”
From the pleasantly sweet sentiments of “Stand Too Close” to the outright amusing confrontations of “@!#?@!,” Motion City Soundtrack sweeps the listener of their feet and doesn’t let up for twelve superbly engaging tracks. Rather than abiding by the same synth-dominated mass appeal of Commit This To Memory and Even If It Kills Me, Motion City Soundtrack steps up their game to a whole new level with the more fervent and energized My Dinosaur Life. Pierre’s vocals stretch to ranges never seen before while the satisfying hum of guitars join rhythmic drumming to fill each track with an contagious beat. But even more impressive is his ability to simultaneously amuse and impress as an intelligent lyricist while still getting his more profound point across. Fans of The Starting Line, New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Jack’s Mannequin, Say Anything, The Academy Is…, Taking Back Sunday and The Wonder Years will enjoy My Dinosaur Life as Motion City Soundtrack’s nearly flawless masterpiece and one of the best albums of all time for the pop punk genre.
Final Score: 9.7/10
Rank: 1st (five total albums)
- Worker Bee
- A Lifeless Ordinary (Need A Little Help)
- Her Words Destroyed My Planet
- History Lesson
- Stand Too Close
- Pulp Fiction
- Skin And Bones
- The Weakends