The title of Motion City Soundtrack’s latest release, My Dinosaur Life, might have some fans wondering if the band is headed for extinction. I certainly hope not. While this isn’t their best album, it should still satisfy most of the band’s fans, mixing the harder and faster edge of their earlier work with the smooth, radio-friendly pop of their previous album.
The album begins with Worker Bee, a brilliant choice for the opening track (much like Attractive Today from their finest release, Commit This to Memory). Justin Pierre stretches his vocals farther than ever for these songs, sounding angrier and more powerful than ever in Disappear. After slowing their pace for their last album, Even if it Kills Me, the band pulls out all the stops for My Dinosaur Life. Pulp Fiction will surely become a fan favorite and a highlight of the band’s entire career; despite its nearly nonsensical lyrics, it’s clear that this song represents the band having the most fun they’ve had in a long time.
Sadly, a small handful of poorly executed (and poorly placed) songs prevent the album from ever really taking off. The appropriately named @!#?@! shows the band having a little too much fun, awkwardly mixing together references to the Legend of Zelda video games with a spiteful, profanity-filled chorus. History Lesson is also a dud – the band produced the song themselves, and with a producer like Blink-182 extraordinaire Mark Hoppus tackling the rest of the album’s production, it’s a head-scratcher that this song made the final cut.
The band thankfully manages to pull together a solid ending for My Dinosaur Life, despite a few bumps along the way. The final track, The Weakends, closes the album on a high note, mirroring the determination shown earlier in Worker Bee. All things considered, while this is certainly not a bad album, its fatal flaw is a lack of progress. Motion City Soundtrack has consistently evolved with every single release, but it seems as though My Dinosaur Life is not so much an evolution as simply a fusion of the band’s previous works. Hopefully, the band can survive the threat of extinction and make up for their missteps on My Dinosaur Life with future albums.