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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Even If It Kills Me

    Since the release of their first full-length album, ‘I Am the Movie,’ Motion City Soundtrack has been around the block a few times. Having formed in 1997 and signing onto Epitaph Records in 2003, they’ve toured extensively, garnering an impressive fanbase along the way.

    Ten years and two albums later comes ‘Even If It Kills Me,’ a sure-footed, yet small step forward for this geeky, synth-pop/punk band from Minneapolis, MN.

    On ‘Even If It Kills Me,’ their latest outing, enough of the same wit and energy that their fans are well acquainted with is combined with some genuine growth to make for a solid work. It can be classified as more of an evolution than a revolution, but it is doubtful most will mind.

    It’s easy to recall 2005’s ‘Everything is Alright’ in how radio-friendly much of this album plays. Not that that’s a bad thing. Opening with the catchy ‘I Fell In Love Without You,’ one can’t help but sing along and sway with the melodic vocals and lilting moog synthesizer work, smiling all the way through.

    Fans can expect to be called out for making fools of themselves while going ‘woo oooh’ while singing ‘It Had To Be You’ in public. Though the album is not without tracks that can be glossed over, the accessibility of their songs is very much a part of MCS’s appeal.

    Lyrically, the familiar themes of heartbreak, regret, boredom, change, and most of all love – both for a lover and for the self’ -‘ are all conveyed to the listener through the wit and whimsy of songwriter and guitarist, Justin Pierre.

    Writing verses like ‘Let’s fight crime with mangoes and limes and join the PGA,’ one can see the band’s quirky charm shine through, out of what has become a nebulous definition of rock. Nevertheless, rock it remains, and on their third effort even the signature wordplay and self-deprecation may not be enough to set them entirely apart from their colleagues in the genre.

    On a personal level, though, the band’ – and Pierre himself’ – is growing and maturing.

    Pierre, ever the wild-haired frontman, is as brilliant as he is troubled. Keep in mind that, although the music itself is often sugary and light-hearted, the lyrics aren’t necessarily so sweet. A closer listen will reveal that much of them express pain and internal strife, the phrase ‘falling apart’ is used more than once.

    This has been a trend in much of MCS’s work. Noteworthy here is the fact that Pierre, through his songwriting, is showing an admirable willingness to move forward. Case in point: in the title and closing track ‘Even If It Kills Me,’ he plainly states, ‘…I want to try to get better/And overcome each moment/In my own way.’

    It is in this way, if only this way, that this album sets itself apart from previous ones and in earnest.

    ‘Even If It Kills Me’ demonstrates, once again that Motion City Soundtrack can move the listener in a number of ways. Whether it is through the feet or through personal reflection, their quirky brand of punk is all their own.

    If Motion City Soundtrack can compete for radio play with the mainstream giant that Fall Out Boy has become is up for debate, but this album is still most certainly worth a listen.

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