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Friday, February 22nd
The Critics Corner: Albums
My Dinosaur Life
Motion City Soundtrack- My Dinosaur Life
Alt rockers re-gain their sound with their major label debut.
Name: "My Dinosaur Life"
Label: Columbia
Release Date: January 19, 2010
My rating: 4.7 out of 5

Review written by: Stephanie Mora
The band Motion City Soundtrack has had its fair share of rocky roads and ups and downs. There have been switches in record labels, producers and band members, along with a slew of personal problems. But now the band is back in full force. Motion City Sountrack now consists of the two founding members, Justin Pierre and Joshua Caine, accompanied by Jesse Johnson, Matthew Taylor and Tony Thaxton. While these American rockers aren't strangers to releasing full length albums, with three already under their belt, their fourth release marks their major label album debut on their new record label, Columbia Records. The band brought back Mark Hoppus from Blink 182 to produce their newest release, My Dinosaur Life, that was released on January 19th, 2010. Bringing back Hoppus was a smart move because the band was able to re-gain their unique edge. Fans will be happy with this album. It's an excellent rock record, and unlike Motion City's third, this fourth album brings back their original sound that fans first fell in love with.

My Dinosaur Life begins with a bang with the catchy first track. Worker Bee is a tale of of old wounds forgotten and moving on to a new beginning. With lyrics like, "It's been a good year, a good new beginning, I'm through with the old school," it's a perfect song to listen to at the very beginning of a new year. New years consist of fresh starts for many people. Musically, the song starts off mellow with Pierre's vocals and quiet guitar rhythms. Its almost as if the listener will not know what to expect from the song, but then the drums appear transforming the song into an upbeat melody that anyone can rock out to. The second track, A Lifeless Ordinary (Need A Little Help), follows in the footsteps of the first one. It has an infectious beat with lyrics that will have everyone singing along. It is also nearly impossible to not imitate the drum segments with your own hands, and bang your head as if you were at a rock show. The song is about realizing that one person alone does not have all the answers, and knowing that we all need a little bit of help to get through life's struggles.

The third track, Her Words Destroyed My Planet is a perfect and quite realistic take on a guy's feelings post break up. The song is about a girl telling a guy that he needs to get his act together, and that guy being so upset by her words that he shaves his beard, quits smoking weed and sells his Xbox in an attempt to change. The track is so realistic that I can picture my brother selling his Xbox to get a girl back, and he's on his Xbox 24/7. Even though the song is about a break up, it is still a catchy tune that will have listeners drumming their fingers to the beat. The fourth track, Disappear is a fast paced song with quick drum beats and guitar rhythms. The song is filled with brilliant analogies and is about a person keeping it together through tough situations, similar to disappearing until the storm is over.

Delirium, the fifth track on the album is a personal song to the band, describing the journey to overcome a drug addiction. It is unlike previous songs on the album because it is more mid-tempo, and even with the dark subject matter, it still maintains a catchy, toe tapping vibe. The sixth track, History Lesson is the band's version of a ballad-like song, and it describes how life changes whether we like it or not, and we're left reminiscing on the past. Despite its slower melody, it's still an enjoyable song. Stand Too Close, the seventh track on the album is similar to the sixth track because it is a slower, more ballad-like tune. It describes a relationship that isn't perfect where both people have flaws, but they love and put up with each other anyway. With humorous similes like, "when I’ve gone off the wall like Busta Rhymes," listeners will both appreciate and relate to this song.

The eighth track, Pulp Fiction has the same title as the popular movie, and the song describes a relationship with a complicated girl in terms of a crime movie. The comparison of a relationship to a movie is a very original idea and it makes for an interesting song that will make you think. The ninth track on the album has a rather unique title which is really just a series of symbols. After listening to the track listeners will learn that the title, @!#?@! is most likely just a cover up so a foul word was not used because to put it lightly, the song is about sticking up for your friends and telling others to back off. Both tracks eight and nine bring back the uptempo beats that listeners will want to get up and dance to.

With the tenth track on the album, Hysteria, the combination of drums, guitar, and clapping give the song a melody that resembles a 'here we go again' feeling. This is appropriate considering that the song describes a person disappointing someone close to them yet again with the bad choices they've made. Skin and Bones, the elventh track on the album could easily be described as a life anthem because it questions whether or not there is something more to life. Is there something more to us? Are our thoughts really someone else's? These are all questions presented in the easy to sing along to, midtemp song, Skin and Bones. The final track on the album is entitled, The Weakends is a strong and appropriate way to end the album. The album ends with a song that talks about fighting back against all of our fears and insecurities. Don't let the weak ends of who you are beat you. Let your optimism and strength pull through. The Weakends begins with a melody that sounds eerie and hopeless, but picks up with a rock jam edge with compliments the feeling of fighting back in the song.

Overall, Motion City Soundtrack crafted a well written rock album. My Dinosaur Life is a very realistic portrayal of human emotions. It's an album that is personal but is versatile in the way that every listener can relate to it, guy or girl. The album is about overcoming life's struggles, and making life's problems become like dinosaurs, extinct. In addition, the lyrics are blunt and honest. The lyrics are derived from raw emotions that come from the heart, the messages of the song aren't sugar coated in any way.  This record is meant for an older and more mature audience because the content is graphic. But is is also a record that all music lovers will enjoy even if they are not a fan of Motion City Soundtrack. I would not be surprised if listeners will want to put on their own little rock concert while listening to My Dinosaur Life.
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