Motion City Soundtrack

My Dinosaur Life

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Released just a few weeks into the year, My Dinosaur Life may already be the most perfect pop-punk record of 2010 -- emphasis on the pop. This is the album that Weezer could have created if they hadn't decided uninteresting frat boy pop/rock was the best way to play out the 2000s. Motion City Soundtrack has created a bright ray of sunshine to cut through the cold, wintery months, a confident set of songs full of loud, fast guitars; smart, self-deprecating lyrics; and instantly memorable hooks. The album is stacked with enough pop culture references to keep things light despite the breakup-induced heartache that is at the root of most of these songs, and Justin Pierre manages to turn the apparent pain of his last year into pop-punk perfection, never losing his sense of humor even when leaving his guts on the floor. He really gives his vocal chords a workout, stretching his voice with personality depending on each song's needs, from the pulsing, tense outbursts of "Disappear" to the unwavering, lazy day singing of "Stand Too Close" to the remorseful, synth-buzzing lead single "Her Words Destroyed My Planet." Bitterness cuts through the big, meaty choruses with glee, and producer Mark Hoppus expertly packs maximum punch into every song in the set, while never comprising their melodic edge. Sure "History Lesson" sounds a bit too close to O.A.R. for comfort, but it's easily overlooked on an album that refreshingly sounds less informed by neon colors and irony, and more by solid songwriting and a band simply having a great time playing together. Even after ten years of navigating the new millennium's punk-emo scene, Motion City Soundtrack sound positively hungry. My Dinosaur Life is a sugar rush without the crash at the end, just the insatiable need to hear it all again.

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