Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Last week, you may have seen my tumblr post regarding Anna's track-by-track review of the streaming My Dinosaur Life. Her post inspired me to write my own track-by-track and I've decided to post it here in celebration of the album's official release - TODAY!

Here is me celebratin'!

I wish I could say I had a glass of wine or two before taking these pictures, but I didn't. I am simply that excited for the date to be JANUARY 19TH 2010! It was a long time coming. Plus, I keep posting the album cover and that just gets boring to see on every post, right?

Anyway - here's what I wrote last week in response to Anna's post:

I love these track-by-track reviews! After only being able to discuss the songs with a handful of people who’d heard it, I’m eager to hear what others think. I’m in love with My Dinosaur Life, and I write that trying to be completely unbiased, as somebody who’s been listening to the band before I knew them, and just happened to marry the keyboardist - I write that as a fan! (As dorky as it may be. As “meant to be” as it all seems.)

I’m somebody that falls in love with music and then must hear how others hear it (see also: Heartbreaker, Deja Entendu, The Con) - I made all my friends buy I Am the Movie on the power of seeing them live in 2003 before it was released on Epitaph and having only a two-song sampler of “My Favorite Accident” and “The Future Freaks Me Out” to pass around. I scoured the AP.net threads for first-listen opinions on CTTM as well…and pretty sure I left my own. I remember when they posted “Better Open the Door” on AP.net pre-album release and I listened to it over, and over, and over again. I’m not going to lie: hearing the songs for EIIKM and MDL in-studio months before release definitely still gave me a rush of fan-excitement.

Also, I’ve come to find that MCS have the BEST fans! They all seem so fun and positive and ready for whatever MCS has in store for them.

I present to you my fan-to-the-max track-by-track review --

01 Worker Bee

What great lines to open an album with - "it's been a good year, a good new beginning." First songs should get you excited for what's in store, and I think "Worker Bee" is a wonderful example; it always leaves me full of anticipation, every time I hear it. Also from the get-go, you hear Justin singing his lungs out superbly and he keeps up that raw intensity through most of the album.

02 A Lifeless Ordinary (Need a Little Help)

This catchy number was the first demo I heard, and just from that recording - with the machine drums - I had it stuck in my head for days. I found myself walking around and singing the chorus; at the same time I can't stress how absurdly greater the songs became after Tony's drums were added - before I was just walking around, but after hearing the final version I was bopping my head and shuffling my feet down city sidewalks. Tony's drumming has some sort of crazy charisma, I swear.

Of course, my first reaction to the song was to the lyric "indoor living, lacerated to the bone," I remember telling Jesse, "Did he say indoor living? Oh man, the fans are gonna love that." (Read: I freakin' love that.) I also loved hearing this song played in Las Vegas for the first time in July, and then played several months later in Chicago to a room that knew the lyrics and the room singing along: "but I'm gonna need a little help to get me, need a little help to get me..." etc., etc., etc. Sentiments of camaraderie.

03 Her Words Destroyed My Planet

You all know me too well: I immediately loved this song because of the Veronica Mars namedrop (seriously, does this give you enough incentive to watch that marvelous television show yet?!). The sounds of the song are kooky and perfect, I am almost always shaking my head violently side to side when I hear this song. Hey guess what I'm doing now? THAT. 

But back to those lyrics - some people mistake all the pop culture references in the songs as some sort of abstraction without real emotion, but MCS songs (especially about love) are entirely relevant and relatable. I've already gotten an email saying "there's no way this song doesn't remind you of me." It's true! These songs about love are also never corny, which never ceases to amaze me.

04 Disappear

Love the strength in this song - the first "I can disappear" always comes with the imagery of a fist pump. The song bites and drives and never lets you go. The chosen words add to the mood, such as - cadavers, decompose, festering, severing, artery. The last words seem a desperate plea after feeling like this song has been chasing you...

05 Delirium

I dig the minimalist-sounding verses here, complimented by the big choruses that tread upon old subjects that haven't tired. Another great example of Justin's fun vocals, plus the classic MCS pull of sounding fun but talking about something more serious - or are they? Honestly, this song makes me laugh when he sings, "I didn't know it was hot in the middle."

06 History Lesson

For a while, I had been listening to the original version of this song (the song that went up on MySpace last week until it got replaced by the actual final version). I think the first version didn't have a lot of personality - and MCS is nothing if not full of that. This version is a bit more complex and fun; there are gang vocals!

07 Stand Too Close

Maybe my favourite songs are those without actual choruses (i.e., "Last Night"). This was a hit with me personally right when I heard it. Handclaps, people, handclaps. Romance me with handclaps, I'll be yours forever. But for real: there's a seriousness here juxtaposed with cheeky lyrics. And as the song culminates in louder and louder sounds, my smile gets bigger.

08 Pulp Fiction

And even bigger! Maybe it's those choice keyboards at the beginning - they almost remind me of a certain No Doubt song - guess I'm a sucker for those spacey keyboard sounds. And here is the onslaught of pop culture lyrics everybody loves MCS for! The rapid-paced song ends soothingly in those lovely "aahhhhs" - I'm most definitely into it.

09 @!#?@!

Here it is! My dance around the room and sing into the mirror song! I always think that any album worth a damn has one of those especially for me (or others who do the same!). I can't wait to hear the crowd go crazy to this one live. I remember hearing the geeky (& yes, very explicit) lyrics and specifically the phrase "sensitive home boys" and thinking fans were going to die laughing, as I did upon first hearing it. I definitely snap my fingers along and dance around like I'm at a sockhop - no joke! And no, I will not video this for you! WORD!

10 Hysteria

Totally into the opening of this song; it makes me think that perhaps Motion City Soundtrack should just tour with No Doubt already! Nobody will get that. But since I know every ND song and their intricacies, I find myself bouncing around to My Dinosaur Life like I do of their own fun, beguiling, layered albums. Plus, I can't deny that I don't have dreams about a tour line-up like that. But you know what this song has that very little ND songs have? You guessed it: handclaps.

11 Skin and Bones

Honestly, going through these songs makes me realize how much I love each and every one of them together and separately. There's not one I would toss out of the bunch. The whole album is pure and unadulterated MCS, and the streak continues with this mounting and lovely ditty. It makes me want to "frolic." Yup.

I hesitate to restate this, but maybe this one's my favourite? Can I have five faves? Twelve?

12 The Weakends

Okay, wait, no THIS is my favourite song on the album. I could listen to that intro and kick-in forever. I'm not much of a jam band fan, but I wouldn't complain if those first 45 seconds or so lasted for many more minutes. I think it just relaxes me into the finale of the album only to jolt me awake: we're not done yet. And that's what this song, and ultimately the album is - aggressive. Some of the songs are obviously softer, but I'm pretty sure MCS just knocked you out with how awesome these songs are by the time you come to those last notes and the slow burn.

Don't forget to buy it, now! Have I not convinced you how RAD it is yet? Because, really, it is. It's not just me. All the reviews coming in have been backing me up, and I couldn't be more happy. Also: PROUD! I'm so proud of those dudes and their abilities to produce (with Mark Hoppus' help, of course) My Dinosaur Life.

Support them by checking the album out at your local retailer or online at Shockhound, Amazon, or iTunes (here's the Deluxe with five extra songs!).

And please, send me any links to your own blogged reviews or leave your thoughts in the comments! What's your favourite song? Which one can't you wait to hear live?! TELL ME! Let's discuss!!!


  1. Love your review, the words I've been looking for! When I hear A Lifeless Ordinary I picture hearing it in Vegas for the first time with my old ass up in the very front getting pushed around and barely able to hear the words. Ahhh, good times :)

  2. I agree with most everything, except for Delirium, which just feels insanely out of place compared to the rest of the album (plus Disappear flows so nicely into History Lesson), but the rest of the album I have definitely been listening to nonstop on every set of speakers I own (Desktop, laptop, work, both cars...)it's quite excellent.

  3. one word: flawless.

    Im speechless on how good MDL is. LOL.

  4. YES. i loved your review! i am terrible at picking out what makes me like certain songs moreso than i just love it cause it's MCS.
    but...a few thoughts a remember from my first listen:

    1- The whole thing is new and different, yet so THEM at points it's almost creepy.
    2- holy god, handclaps & gang vocals!! nothing steals my heart like those.
    3- Justin WOULD be able to make what we all know '@!#?@!' stand for sound so pretty and beautiful! It kinda cracked me up. I also think he sounds like Flight of the Conchords a bit saying that word.
    4- Stand Too Close is too short! I alsways need to play it atleast 2x.
    5- I remember Justin saying he didn;t warmup vocally before recording for this album. I love how that worked out.
    6- Skin and Bones brings up such scary thoughts in such a pretty and calming package. Leave it to MCS.
    7- I feel like the guys really found themselves this time around, and I see now why people have said this is really a combination of the best aspects of the previous 3 records.

    I was sooo happy to finally hear this, just because it's new MCS of course, and because of all the GREAT reviews that were coming in, but mostly because they guys spoke so highly of it themsleves.

    and finally, I think you should brave the crowd at the Allentown date if you are there (weekend and not toooo far from NYC!)and jump around!


    Seriously, this album is great. I HOPE they come to Philly! I want to hear the whole album live.

    BTW - I listened to it 13 times yesterday. Ridiculous. I loved every minute though.

  6. I'm obviously in love, as I am with everything MCS. And definitely agree - there's not a song I would toss out either and there aren't many albums I could say that about!

    WorkerBee: Anna was right, MCS definitely has a tried and true formula for first and last songs on their albums. Perfect way to start.

    Lifeless: So catchy, been in my head for a week straight. Also, superchunk!

    Disappear: I think this will end up being one of my favorites as soon as the new-ness of the rest of the album wears off.

    Delirium: MY FAVORITE, FAVORITE, FAVORITE SONG. When the guitar first kicks in it sounds so old school MCS to me...insane. And that rad Matt Taylor bassline and the verse lyrics...too too good.

    History Lesson: Ed Ackerson produced?! That dude rocks.

    Stand Too Close: Adorable.

    @!#?@!: So fun to sing along. Totally thought of Flight of the Conchords too. :)

    Skin & Bones: Same as you...I want this to be one of my favorites, but how many can a girl have?!

    The Weakends: I think my second favorite song on the album. That intro is fantastic and it just leaves on the perfect note.

    I said perfect and love 800 times, but there's just no other way to describe My Dinosaur Life! Saturday night cannot get here soon enough!

  7. The only thing I'm missing is the lalalalala's from the live version of Her Words Destroyed My Planet, love those.

  8. stand too close has "radio single" written all over it.... ;) <3

  9. I think you did a great review and I just wanted to comment on what you said about The Weakends. I also reallyyyy love that intro and I think i figured out why. Play those first 30ish seconds and then play the first 15 seconds of Indoor Living. I don't know about you, but I think that helps explain why that song is my favorite on MDL :)

  10. I love this record. I FINALLY got to see MCS in Minneapolis. It was AWESOME!

  11. A little late to the party, but this was pretty tough at first. Trying to not get carried away or distracted. Can't believe it took this long to just sit and write it our lol.

    My review:


    P.S. Don't be too harsh lol :)

  12. Admittedly, I've only just read this particular blog..! And my God, what a wonderful album! MCS are forever going to be my favourite band and make me so happy on a crap day. I'm even getting Commit This To Memory tattoo'd on my wrist because to me that is a masterpiece :) I love Stand Too Close and Her Words Destroyed My Planet..!! Utterly amazing guys, and I'm 99% sure that Justin Pierre is God y'know.. or at the very least a lyrical genius.