REVIEW: Motion City Soundtrack – Go

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Artist: Motion City Soundtrack
Album: Go
Genre: Indie Rock, Power Pop
Label: Epitaph Records

Let’s get one thing straight; the 72 hours that I have been allowed to absorb the contents of Motion City Soundtrack’s fifth studio album, Go are simply not enough. Taking in the 36 years of depression and heartache in Justin Pierre’s lyrics is not a weekend job. Furthermore, dispensing my reactions to such raw honesty in a 600 word rant is as simple as painting The Sistine Chapel ceiling on the back of a matchbook cover. There simply isn’t enough room to cover all the details with the justice they deserve.

That said, I would be lying if I didn’t confess that Go is unquestionably my least favorite Motion City Soundtrack album released at this time.  Major staples of the band’s signature sound seem to be displaced on this cut. For example, the manner in which the previous albums jigsawed together causing track by track playlists that formed one unified album, seems jumbled and disengaged on Go. Additionally, multiple tracks on the record drift a little too close to the sun, melting the band’s wings and causing them to tragically splash down into the ocean. While I’m all for growth, it is important above all to remember who you are.

“Song of a Gun” and “Boxelder” are not the sum total of their sound. In fact, if not otherwise informed, one might even confuse these songs for a different band of far lesser talent. However, to be fair, calling this album Motion City Soundtrack’s fifth best doesn’t make it a flop, it simply indicates the strength of the previous cuts. This band’s catalog is no joke.

Go is certainly not a lame duck left for dead. However, it isn’t album of the year quality. Fans will be pleased that it does possess several cuts that could sneak into their previous album without being out of place. “Timelines” for example might not only serve as the strongest cut on the album, but the strongest track they’ve released to date. The song’s exposed lyrics approach a level of emotional honesty the band has never managed to express. This is fairly epic considering the band has always just put it out there. Pierre has always worn his emotions on his sleeve, mixing his scars in casually with a collage of pop culture references and charming one liners. “Timelines” however reads more like a biography than a pop song aimed to tug at your heart.

Also in place are the moog heavy synth sounds which seemed to go missing on My Dinosaur Life. Sparks of I Am The Movie and Even if it Kills Me bleed through in stellar tracks like “Coma Kid” and “True Romance.” However, regardless of their return to Epitaph Records, Motion City Soundtrack fans should not come into Go expecting another punk album. Go is hands down their most polished and poppy album thus far. Surprisingly though, this works to Motion City’s advantage, providing Pierre with the soapbox to produce his most brilliant album vocally.

The constant confessions of his fears of being out of place and emotionally broken down have never been so finely tweaked. Those tracks alone are worth a good hard listen.

While the album isn’t a huge disappointment, it also isn’t a giant success. It realistically comes down to the views of the listener. As a lifelong fan, I must confess I was looking for more. However, the chances are strong that I will hold this album with the same white knuckle grip I have with every track they’ve dropped.

6/10 Stars

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  • I am also a lifelong motion city soundtrack fan. and, to be honest, this is actually my favorite of all their albums. It’s interesting how different people like and connect with different things. I love the mature song writing. I actually like the absence of the punk feel, as it feels a little bit more “straightforward” than some of their previous albums. My favorite song of theirs all time has to be L.G. FUAD, with The Future Freaks Me Out a close second, but I have to admit that I am addicted to Bad Idea from this album, as well as timelines.