Sound — 10
This album was written by the five members of Motion City Soundtrack, produced by Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 fame, and mixed by the legendary Andy Wallace. If that isn't enough to describe just how undeniably accessible and fun "My Dinosaur Life" is, then I must continue. This album seems to find Motion City Soundtrack coming through a difficult time, but with a but sunnier outlook than that of their previous album, "Even If It Kills Me". The opening track, "Worker Bee", is not a typical super-fast sugar rush like the listener may be expecting if they are familiar with this band. It is, comparatively, a mid-tempo track in this context. It still has the quality that makes it perfect to open the gates on a great pop-rock album, and sets the tone for a bumpy yet enjoyable ride. "Her Words Destroyed My Planet", if I had to wager, will be recognized as a big hit sooner rather than later. If you don't believe me, watch the video. Try not to have flashbacks to the memorable Fall Out Boy video for "Dance, Dance". I dare you. "Disappear" may be the angriest track this band have ever released, or at least the most frenetic. The vocals sound like a panic attack that somehow managed to find its way to a microphone. Motion City Soundtrack shines brightly when they lay their hearts on the line. "Stand Too Close" will prove this, if you don't believe me. If you don't wistfully recall some lost love or recover a deep-seated pain from listening to "Skin and Bones", you're a robot, and in the words of William Murderface, robots are NOT to be trusted. The sound of this album has all of the guitar, synth and drums that you expect from this band. But as a fan, and a musician who started on four strings, I urge the listener to dig deep and appreciate the deftness of Matt Taylor's bass playing. Taylor's developing skill certainly anchors the sound of this album.
Lyrics — 9
Justin Pierre is a master lyricist not because he paints an abstract and dark canvas of enigmatic poetry. He is a master of his role as main lyric writer for Motion City Soundtrack because he tells his story with brutal honesty, down to every anal-retentive detail of whatever inspires the track in question. Whether it is the disillusioned but hopeful spirit conveyed in the key lines of opening track "Worker Bee" (I've been a good little worker bee / I deserve a gold star"), the pop-culture references that this band have become known for ("Her Words Destroyed My Planet", "Stand Too Close"), or the hilariously and nonchalantly profane "@!#?@!", the lyrics never let up in tone. My only gripe is that for a guy who claims to be sober and clean, Mr. Pierre seems to have a continuing fixation on drugs, evidenced in "Delirium". It's still a catchy and memorable track, but how many times can one man beat the same dead horse?
Overall Impression — 10
Is there a number higher than 10 that I can choose for this category? Honestly, this is my favorite Motion City Soundtrack album since the beginning of their career. "My Dinosaur Life" has established that not only are this group of outcast musicians and misfit Midwesterners catchy, but they are competent. Motion City Soundtrack has made an album that plays to every strong point of every note or lyric that this quintet have previously put to celluloid or computer. It shoe-gazes without being overly self-aware. It is bouncy, bouyant, and I can safely say it is brilliant.