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Motion City Soundtrack - Even If It Kills Me (Cover Artwork)

Motion City Soundtrack

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

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: CaptainCrunchCaptainCrunch
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Motion City Soundtrack have been around for the better part of a decade. Touring relentlessly, they've been able to build both a loyal fanbase and enough mainstream buzz to think they're backed by a major. Even If It Kills Me is an excellent release, the band's next logical musical step after their .
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Motion City Soundtrack have been around for the better part of a decade. Touring relentlessly, they've been able to build both a loyal fanbase and enough mainstream buzz to think they're backed by a major. Even If It Kills Me is an excellent release, the band's next logical musical step after their previous two albums, albeit one that will take some time for die-hard MCS fans to get acclimated to.

First and foremost: Even If It Kills Me is a pop record. There are no two ways about this. MCS has taken nearly all the things that they do well and adapted it into a group of songs that could, and should double as every teenage kid's personal soundtrack. This is also where the die-hard fans might be taken aback. Folks who are hoping for another I Am the Movie will be very disappointed, as this is miles from that. Right away one will notice the gloss and production on the album, as there isn't even a hint of the edgy, raw sounds that so many liked about I Am the Movie. On the other hand, this album has some of the band's best and catchiest hooks, as there are quite a few tracks that could be destined for Top 40 stardom. The entire album is radio-friendly, alternating between mega-catchy and ballad-type songs. Its nearly impossible to listen to a couple songs and not be humming them for the rest of the day.

Justin Pierre's lyrics are typically heartfelt odes to his past and Even If It Kills Me is not any different. Perhaps a little less direct than Commit This to Memory's, the songs are littered with nostalgic references and metaphors that work extremely well in context. There are still some parts with weak lyrics, but it's hardly as frequent than Commit This to Memory. Overall, the lyrics and vocals are strong, actually a lot closer to I Am the Movie than their last effort. The use of keyboards is much better than Commit This to Memory, as well.

There are some negatives with Even If It Kills Me, but they are limited. First, it features probably MCS's worst song of their three albums: "The Conversation." The basic piano ballad just doesn't work, plain and simple. At the very least, it's the only song that even achieves 'meh' status. One other point of contention though is that the little nuances that MCS is known for, like the four-part harmony in 'Better Open the Door" or the outstanding drum parts in "Time Turned Fragile" don't seem to make any kind of appearance on Even If It Kills Me. This could be a necessary evil in the step the band took toward radio-friendliness, being that those nuances are part of what made them unique in the first place.

In closing, this is a more complete offering than their sophomore effort in almost every way. MCS has matured in their own way, and they should be commended for that. These guys write very good music, and Even If It Kills Me is no exception. It is an outstanding pop record, one worth checking out even for the types that hate the genre. Motion City Soundtrack fans will enjoy this as well, even if it takes a couple listens. The better albums always do.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldA Wilhelm Scream - Mute PrintThe Get Up Kids - Something To Write Home AboutMotion City Soundtrack - Commit This To MemoryA Wilhelm Scream - Career SuicideMotion City Soundtrack - My Dinosaur LifeAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl Rose

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
DeadMilkMan (November 28, 2007)

I think Justin Pierre is a fantastic song writer. I agree, these guys have gotten a bit too polished with this release, but their brutal honsety remains. In a genre ruled by vague, down-trodden lyricism, Pierre manages to get specific and real. I like that about them. It's not quite IATM, but it's definitely a release with it's own feel.

damnitsderek (September 25, 2007)

I meant "This Is For Real".

damnitsderek (September 25, 2007)

I really can't stand the single "Even If It Kills Me".

This band is fucking awesome live, though.

domotime (September 25, 2007)

average album.....

good songs

Track 1, Track 2, Calling Cops, the last song
thats basically it...

slow songs are weak.

F_Ward (September 24, 2007)

"listen to Cambridge, then listen to Calling All Cops and tell us you still can't tell a difference"

word.

fallingupwards84 (September 24, 2007)

i dont know what you mean by "raw"

listen to Cambridge, then listen to Calling All Cops and tell us you still can't tell a difference

icapped2pac (September 23, 2007)

Fuck you.

genebuonaccorsi (September 23, 2007)

the drum part to "Point of Extinction" sounds a helluva lot like the drum part to "Time Turned Fragile". Plus the drumming in "Broken Heart" and "Can't Finish What You Started" is as solid as anything on Commit This To Memory.

souldoubt (September 23, 2007)

every album i anticipate sucks..what is up with that?

F_Ward (September 23, 2007)

The vocals didn't used to seem so flat. Flat = not raw.

mollz (September 23, 2007)

i dont know what you mean by "raw", but i think there is a lot more backing vocals on this album... whereas before there was more of justin's voice by itself. theres a lot of "ohs" and "ahs", kind of harmony type sounds on here.

and about ap.net, when i read their review i thought it was kind of cheesy. it was an okay review, but the little corny things about it are what made me take it less seriously (maybe thats what they were going for).

RondoMondo (September 23, 2007)

Definitely not a fan of this cd. Very uninspired and the vocals aren't as raw as they used to be. It's basically a snoozer for me. The music isn't too bad, but they really tried to strip themselves of any uniqueness they had from back in the day. Commit this to Memory is a much stronger effort despite the horrid tracklisting, but they both pale in comparison to I Am the Movie

Shark-e (September 22, 2007)

"is it just me or does "the conversation" sound EXACTLY like a ben fold song?"
My thoughts exactly. Also, I believe it's Last Night that has a very Postal Service-esque quality.
It's my belief that this sounds similar to the best possible record Fall Out Boy could ever make, but never will. Take this as you will.
I still enjoy it, but it's not the best they could have done.
Oh well.

Sally_Field (September 22, 2007)

AP.net reviews are oh so much better (even the ones done by random ppl, not just the pro ones)

Eh, I think it needs to be said that being on a review staff doesn't make one a "pro" writer.

inagreendase (September 22, 2007)

Yo dudes, we've never given a record 8 stars. That would be a little over the top.

Commit This to Memory was mediocre city; probably won't bother checking this out.

F_Ward (September 22, 2007)

"Now what was it about this record that made me know the review was going to give it an 8?
Oh yea... that's what punknews.org reviews are obligated to do with popular bands
That is of course unless the band has too big a fanbase ala MCR etc... in which case it would be too uncool to give it a positive review.
AP.net reviews are oh so much better (even the ones done by random ppl, not just the pro ones)"

How often do staff writers over at AP give a bad review to an album. Fucking rarely. It's true that too this site has been fluttered with too many user reviews of late, but buddy, fuck you.

tylerdurden8136 (September 22, 2007)

AP.net reviews are oh so much better (even the ones done by random ppl, not just the pro ones)

http://absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=266001

Hmm.. .it got an 83% which is like what, an 8/10? Which would be, like, 4/5 stars?

You're a fucking joke dude.

When Tate stops giving Spill Canvas and shitty Thrice albums perfect scores, let me know, cause then I might take your opinion seriously.

DickAround (September 22, 2007)

I can't hate this band for some reason. They remind me of the sorta good parts to mid-90's emo. The first song on this is good, soley for the fact the little synth parts reminded me of Flying Fortress Act 1, 2, AND 3 for Sonic 2 on the Genisis. They get 7 stars.

Hasheesh (September 22, 2007)

Twice, even.

Hasheesh (September 22, 2007)

Being a huge fan of Justin Pierre's lyrics, I have been very interested to see how they would turn out on this, being that it's the first that he's written more-or-less completely sober. You can really sense the vulnerability and willingness to be completely upfront about the "mistakes" that he's made and his attempts to overcome them, which I feel results in not only the lyrics being a little more straightforward, but the music as well. The fact that the music is "softer" than their past albums really helps drive that point home... this is an album of healing and self-discovery, and a lot of times, health and discovery can only be accomplished in a state of peace, a state where you're willing to settle down and just be, and I can hear all of this reflected in the music/lyrics/production. While there are definitely spots on this album I would have done much differently (the production is a little unnecessarily slick), I can understand why they're where they are.

_
Being a huge fan of Justin Pierre's lyrics, I have been very interested to see how they would turn out on this, being that it's the first that he's written more-or-less completely sober. You can really sense the vulnerability and willingness to be completely upfront about the "mistakes" that he's made and his attempts to overcome them, which I feel results in not only the lyrics being a little more straightforward, but the music as well. The fact that the music is "softer" than their past albums really helps drive that point home... this is an album of healing and self-discovery, and a lot of times, health and discovery can only be accomplished in a state of peace, a state where you're willing to settle down and just be, and I can hear all of this reflected in the music/lyrics/production. While there are definitely spots on this album I would have done much differently (the production is a little unnecessarily slick), I can understand why they're where they are.

*******

Take that for what it is though, I am a huge fanboy.

fallingupwards84 (September 22, 2007)

its true that this site gives too many 8 star reviews, especially when an entire paragraph of the review is dedicated to the album's shortcomings, including a recognition of "necessary evils" that the band made to make it more "radio-friendly"

SteeevePerry (September 22, 2007)

Now what was it about this record that made me know the review was going to give it an 8?
Oh yea... that's what punknews.org reviews are obligated to do with popular bands
That is of course unless the band has too big a fanbase ala MCR etc... in which case it would be too uncool to give it a positive review.
AP.net reviews are oh so much better (even the ones done by random ppl, not just the pro ones)

humberthumbert (September 21, 2007)

Score is for "The Conversation."

allyeah (September 21, 2007)

I cried a lot and then we spooned/ without her I am doomed
From track 12, "Antonia."
best lyrics I've heard in a long time.

not-to-regret (September 21, 2007)

So where are the new Bronx album(s)?
Their site hasn't mentioned the new albums since April.
Anyone know whats going on with The Bronx?

PS: New Black Lips record is amazing, eat it against me.

tylerdurden8136 (September 21, 2007)

I remember seeing this band almost four years ago at CMU. What the hell happened since then?

Yeah, this is a decent pop record, by why the fuck did they need to make a 'decent pop record' in the first place?

It's catchy but not something I see myself listening to in a few weeks. I'll just pop in I Am the Movie.

Big_Guy (September 21, 2007)

"Every song starts out with just the guy singing or the guy singing over a palm muted guitar and they all sound the same. These guys need to stop getting a pass because they used to be good."

so true. it's all been downhill for this band after IATM

Nap (September 21, 2007)

No Way... this is their worst album... gonna get a 6

chickswithdicks (September 21, 2007)

i'd say this review is pretty spot on actually. i didn't like this the first few times through but it's growing. and yeah, it's a total radio pop record and you need to approach it like that. if you're not in the mood for something light and catchy you will hate it

Oldpunkerforever (September 21, 2007)

Score is for the new dropkick murphys-oldpunker-

mcgregor107 (September 21, 2007)

meh.. I got bored halfway through this..

mollz (September 21, 2007)

I've read a lot of reviews for this album, and yours is one of my favorites. Probably because I'm a biased mcs fan :) But I agree with a lot of things you said. so good job!

red_eye_inc (September 21, 2007)

Every song starts out with just the guy singing or the guy singing over a palm muted guitar and they all sound the same. These guys need to stop getting a pass because they used to be good.

bryne (September 21, 2007)

I loved I Am The Movie and thought Commit This To Memory was pretty good. For some strange reason though I really have no desire to check this out.

TheMarc (September 21, 2007)

This album is okay, but other than the first song, there's really no life to it. And for what it's worth, I kind of like "The Conversation".

i-type-poorly (September 21, 2007)

I can't belive it. This album is actually pretty good. 3 or 4 songs too many, but I really ate my words here. Good tunes. Terrible lyrics, but still good tunes.

TheMike (September 21, 2007)

"Posted by danperrone on 2007-09-21 02:17:56

I am fucking sick of eight out of tens on this website"

And I am getting sick of people who are just looking for something to complain about.

F_Ward (September 21, 2007)

I mean, even Scott is disappointed with the new record. Shit.

F_Ward (September 21, 2007)

IATM sounded fresh as all hell when it came out. This sounds like rehashed power-pop. Not terrible, but completely uninspired and not as hooky as it arguably should be.

eatdogs (September 21, 2007)

superchunk
weezer
the aniversary
ben folds
and
atom and his package.

there i said it.

listen to those bands and then listen to this.

danperrone (September 21, 2007)

I am fucking sick of eight out of tens on this website

fallingupwards84 (September 21, 2007)

8 stars? what the fuck are you thinking?
this album has a couple good songs, but nothing spectacular. its pretty boring actually, not something you can listen to all the way through. very uninspired sounding... certainly not on the level that IATM was, or even CTTM

eatdogs (September 21, 2007)

wow! somebody besides me got the ben folds feeling also! this band really loves their influences. i think they even name drop ben folds somewhere in the album. i'm sure i heard it in some song on the second half.

dusticles (September 21, 2007)

this album is fucking weak.

julianminutes (September 21, 2007)

oh yeah, i did. oopsssssssssssssssss. extra s's there for you.

elephantdwarf (September 21, 2007)

ben fold? you forgot the "s" at the end.

jacknife737 (September 21, 2007)

its a decent pop-punk album, nothing really groundbreaking, but a lot of fun, catchy songs. Still, I kind of chuckled to myself that this got a higher score then New Wave*

*I am aware that they were done by different reviewers

julianminutes (September 21, 2007)

is it just me or does "the conversation" sound EXACTLY like a ben fold song?

maverick (September 21, 2007)

I just have to accept that this band will never make the record I want them to make.

-Scott

holyromanstile (September 21, 2007)

I totally agree, this album is awesome. The great drum parts are still there, they're just a little more subtle. The drums at the beginning of "Can't Finish What You Started" are fucking sweet.

kirbypuckett (September 21, 2007)

8 stars? You're drunk. This is a 6 at best. I love MCS. I've been there since the beginning (go back in pndoto's history and you'll see), but this just isn't where this band should be. Its certainly a progression from CTTM, but they could have done so much better.

- Kirby

eatdogs (September 21, 2007)

i was suprised by the stars you gave this album. i really think it doesn't deserve that much. i love this band alot, but this album just falls flat with it's slower paced songs filtered throught. track 5 'calling all cops' and track 13 ' even if it kills me' stand out amongst all the rest as a better upgrade of what the band has done in the past. the rest just seem like tired re-hashed b-sides of of CTTM or IATM. this band still takes their pride of being 'inspired' by the likes of superchunk and weezer too much. heck, even the anniversary to a certain point. what makes me still like this band though, is the singer and his way with words and their flow within a song. sort of like how kevin seconds does his thing with hardcore punk.

Sciulli (September 21, 2007)

Man, "I Am the Movie" is SO great. What an awesome album. I remember listening to "The Future Freaks Me Out" and just being kicked on my butt by their sound.

Their second record was very good, some really solid tracks. Over all pretty satisfied.

Listening to the two preview tracks on Epitaph, I have no desire whatsoever to hear more of this record. Too bad.

seankingston (September 21, 2007)

I haven't heard the album, but it sounds like your in denial about how much it sucks, and you're trying to justify why it doesn't.

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