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.
However, the band’s new disc, Go, is going to throw their fanbase for a bit of a loop. Although all of the elements that have made Motion City Soundtrack so intensely beloved are still very much in place (huge choruses, sharp wit, a giddy sense of fun even when things turn toward the dramatic), there is an underlying sorrow to the album that sets this disc apart from their other work. String sections are brought in for the first time ever, and the haunting, echoing minor-key piano chords of “Happy Anniversary” show the band revealing a dark side of themselves heretofore unseen, all while Pierre’s lyrics explore death from just about every angle, from the personal to the universal and back again (heck, one of their new songs is called “Everyone Will Die”). The band is still as fun and exciting as ever (just watch as “Boxelder” becomes their new concert singalong standard), but, here, the guys are showing that even after all these years, they’re still growing up right before our eyes.
Thus, PopMatters is pleased to premiere “The Worst Is Yet to Come”, a synth-aided rocker that wouldn’t sound out of place at all on My Dinosaur Life, built on a solid melody and some fiery bass work, as Pierre tells all about his “melting heart of major compromise”. It’s another wonderful highlight from Go, due out June 12th on Epitaph/The Boombox Generation. This one’s on us dear readers, so sit back and enjoy ...
// Notes from the Road
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