Music

Motion City Soundtrack: Go

Motion City Soundtrack ventures away from broken hearts and sad stories, taking a hard look at self-worth and mortality on their new brilliantly crafted release.


Motion City Soundtrack

Go

Label: Epitaph
US Release Date: 2012-06-12
UK Release Date: 2012-06-11
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

On the final track of Motion City Soundtrack’s 2010 album My Dinosaur Life, lead singer Justin Pierre gets a bit introspective in the wake of his band’s upbeat pop-punk crash course, singing, “As years go crashing by, I think of all I’ve pondered / So many minutes squandered, so many things undone / I’ve tried to figure out how many lives I’ve wasted waiting for the perfect time to start.” That contemplative sentiment was far from just a fleeting thought, but rather a concept that would engulf Pierre and the rest of the band during the creation of their latest release Go. Instead of nestling into a comfort zone of broken-hearted emo-pop, Motion City Soundtrack has pushed themselves in a much darker, more pensive direction which has culminated in what may be the band’s best and most well-rounded release to date.

Go kicks off unassumingly enough with opener “Circuits and Wires”, a song that sounds like just what you would expect from Motion City Soundtrack upon first listen. But dig a little deeper and you find the beginnings of a theme that will run throughout the course of the entire album, as Pierre sings “I am all motors and gadgets, organically designed to last a finite length of time / Locked in this rotary motion, the wheel spins round and round / I comprehend it all but still can’t make a sound.” This idea of time and mortality comes to life on “Timelines”, a track retracing the Pierre’s missteps and regrets, but ultimately leading to a greater realization that “all the destruction will one day end / And you’ll finally know exactly who you are / It’s just a matter of timing.” If you find yourself unsure at this point about whether to cling to the coming promise of self-awareness or feel defeated by the length of time it might take to get there, that may very well be the point.

Unwilling to offer hard answers to the pestering questions of purpose and self-worth, Go plays out more like a story than anything else. Shifting musical gears effortlessly while maintaining its identity, the album barrels through pop-punk numbers like “The Coma Kid” and “Boxelder”, but also takes the time to slow down and humbly ponder on “Everyone Will Die” and “Happy Anniversary”. While the album is obviously a display of Pierre’s own wonderings, his story offers room for just about anyone who’s ever doubted or questioned his direction and decisions.

While the band’s sound may take a few listens to fully digest for long-time listeners, it’s easily the group's most eclectic mix of songs. Taking the best parts of their more aggressive releases like Commit This to Memory and My Dinosaur Life and meshing with their poppier 2007 album Even If It Kills Me, Go finds a comfort zone between the sounds, but pushes itself in a new direction with thoughtful synth placement and subtle shifts within the songs themselves that match Justin Pierre’s emotion. Call it maturity, but it feels like a logical and appropriate progression for a band that’s proved itself capable over the years of creating focused presentations for its ideas and lyrics.

On “Everyone Will Die”, Pierre opens with the lines, “Everyone will die and everyone will lose / So what are you going to do with the moments you have before it’s you?” At first glance, the title Go doesn’t seem to fit the dark feel of the songs that lie within the album. However, the title isn’t the preface, but rather the conclusion drawn from the album’s ideas -- to go and make the most of the time you have instead of living in remorse over time lost. With Go, Motion City Soundtrack has crafted a proactive and thoughtful album full of wonderfully catchy and melodic songs that serve a much deeper experience than typical summertime anthems. In doing so, they’ve also created one of the best releases so far this year and shown themselves to still be residing in the upper echelon of the pop rock world.

8

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image