If Justin Pierre is anything, it’s self-deprecating.
Fans of the songs he’s made as the frontman for Motion City Soundtrack know full-well the power of cutting one’s self down to size. When he sings about falling asleep to episodes of Veronica Mars, it doesn’t stand out as a cheeky pop culture reference as much as it does describe a very specific kind of loneliness that speaks to a very specific generation—a reference with is embedded with experience almost as much as it is astute observation. Even on the song “Radio, Radio: Are You Getting This?” from his 90s-rock side-project Farewell Continental, there features a long breakdown wherein the band gives voice to their own harshest critic (“I guess you can’t love everything,” the narrator sighs). So even when the band is running their own festival, working with the likes of Ric Ocasek and Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger over the course of the same album (in that case, 2007’s Even If It Kills Me), or having their last album—2010’s magnificent My Dinosaur Life—get hailed as the Album of the Year by Alternative Press, you know full well that their success isn’t getting to their heads: it’s only keeping them that much more grounded.