My Dinosaur Life
|My Dinosaur Life|
|Studio album by Motion City Soundtrack|
|Released||January 19, 2010|
|Recorded||April–June 2009 at OPRA Music Studios, Los Angeles, California|
|Motion City Soundtrack chronology|
|Singles from My Dinosaur Life|
My Dinosaur Life is the fourth studio album by the American pop punk band Motion City Soundtrack, released through Columbia Records on January 19, 2010. It is the band's first album on a major label, after they moved from Epitaph Records in June 2008. Like their second album, Commit This to Memory (2005), the album was produced by the Blink-182 singer and bass guitarist Mark Hoppus. The name of the album comes from a line from the bonus track "Sunny Day".
My Dinosaur Life was released to universal acclaim from critics; many reviewers stated that the album is the best of the band's career and called it a resounding success for the band. The album entered the US Billboard 200 at number 15, with nearly 30,000 copies sold in its first week.
Production and recording
After releasing three records on the independent Epitaph label, Motion City Soundtrack signed a multiple-album deal with Columbia Records in late 2006, months before releasing their previous album Even If It Kills Me. Following the move, the guitarist Joshua Cain said, "It just felt right to make the move when there was the right interest there." With the new signing, the band's promotional team aimed to develop a balance between the benefits of a new major label and their previous grass-roots approach.
The album was produced by the Blink-182 frontman Mark Hoppus, who also worked with the band for their second album, Commit This to Memory. Hoppus said that the band wanted to follow in the tracks of Commit This to Memory, but to push things further. He said the album would incorporate a heavier, more experimental side of the group. "There's an edge on this record that I'm really excited about getting into," he said, "But it still has all the catchiness of everything that I personally love about Motion City Soundtrack. As a fan, it's really exciting to get to work with them again and help them flesh out this new vision of themselves."
The band announced that they were to begin recording sessions with Hoppus in April 2009. Due to drummer Tony Thaxton's broken arm, the band were forced to rearrange the sequence in which they recorded. The drums were replaced by electronic beats and drum machines until Thaxton was able to play properly in the last week of recording. It was confirmed that recording had been completed on June 28, 2009.
Promotion and release
Whilst on tour with Blink-182, Motion City Soundtrack did an interview for MTV with Hoppus, in which it was revealed that the band's fourth album would be titled My Dinosaur Life. The album title was derived from frontman Justin Pierre misquoting a line ("My dragon life") from the 2008 film American Teen.
Throughout November 2009, Pierre undertook a promotional tour called On the Dino Trail. Along with the band's tour manager and a friend, Pierre made appearances and played acoustic shows throughout the US Midwest and East Coast. The tour's itinerary was planned with fans' help through Twitter, with it all being chronicled online at MyDinosaurLife.com. The guitarist Joshua Cain commented that he felt their use of Twitter had helped to reconnect the band with fans. "I feel like in the last few years, that stuff's gotten harder to do... [Twitter has] really re-engaged us as a band to be able to communicate with everybody." The band played three sold-out Chicago shows in mid-December, each of which featured one of the band's previous records in full. They then arranged a touring schedule which would include supporting Weezer on several dates in December and January, as well as beginning a headlining tour in late January covering the United States. Following the album's release, they recommenced touring; in the first three months the band travelled to Australia for the national Soundwave festival, as well as to Japan and the United Kingdom.
On November 3, 2009, My Dinosaur Life was announced to have a release date of January 19, 2010. Pre-orders for the album went on sale through the band's official website on November 13, 2009. The pre-orders came in three varieties: digital, standard and deluxe edition. The physical form of the deluxe edition has five bonus tracks, a hard-bound book with six 7-inch picture discs, a signed Pulp Fiction—style lyric booklet and album artwork for each song by Joe Ledbetter. The digital deluxe edition includes the bonus tracks and the artwork in PDF form.
In October 2009, the band released the first song from the album, "Disappear", as a free download on their website, with a music video online for the song on November 19, 2009. "Her Words Destroyed My Planet" was first publicly released in November 2009 on Spin's website for streaming; the song was one of the site's most popular streams in 2009. Becoming the album's first single, "Her Words" was serviced to modern rock radio in December 2009, before having a music video released on January 11, 2010. A third song, "A Lifeless Ordinary (Need a Little Help)", was also released on Spin before the album.
In January 2010, the band undertook a series of song by song video testimonials for each of the album's tracks. The clips were released on numerous music websites including AbsolutePunk, Spin, Buzznet, Purevolume, Alternative Press, Punknews.org, Alloy.com, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The A.V. Club, Ultimate Guitar Archive, Buzzgrinder.com and Twitvid. The album was uploaded for streaming on the band's MySpace on January 12, 2010.
|The A.V. Club||(B+)|
|Lincoln Journal Star||(B-)|
|The Washington Post||(favorable)|
Critical response to My Dinosaur Life was generally positive. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received a score of 79 from 13 reviews.
The album was given a nod of approval by Spin before its release, which awarded it 3.5/5 stars. The reviewer Mikael Wood said "the band strikes a radio-ready balance between mayhem and melody, (which) may well trigger their long-awaited breakthrough." Drew Beringer of AbsolutePunk also gave the album a glowing review, awarding a 92% rating. He stated that the album, "combines the mayhem and melody of Commit This to Memory, while maintaining the pop sensibilities they showed on Even If It Kills Me. It has the ferocity of a debut album while maintaining the expertise that seasoned bands possess". He also made comparisons to Weezer's earlier work; "If Weezer created the nerdy/quirky pop-rock sound, then Motion City Soundtrack has perfected it on their best album to date". Scott Heisel of Alternative Press was equally impressed, awarding My Dinosaur Life a full five stars. He praised, "Mark Hoppus' fantastic production, which never gets in the way of the song (a complete 180 from his work on 2005's Commit This To Memory); and the unique, textured, background role Jesse Johnson has allowed his synth to play this time around. So let's just end it on this: Motion City Soundtrack have made the best album of their career". The A.V. Club critic Kyle Ryan gave a positive review, giving the album a "B+" grade. He claimed the album is full of "maddeningly catchy rock—associated with punk, but undeniably pop with clever, sensitive-boy lyrics". Minor complaints included, "("A Lifeless Ordinary") veers a little too close to Weezer-esque cheese in its generic chorus, and budding “sensitive homeboys” anthem ("@!#?@!")—“Go fuck yourselves, leave us alone”—is a little groan-inducing, but those missteps are pretty minor". Entertainment Weekly writer Andy Greenwald awarded the album an "A-" grade. He stated that frontman Justin Pierre "lets his geek flag fly, likening a breakup to the destruction of Superman's home world ("Her Words Destroyed My Planet") and puzzling over ephemera ranging from acid rain (the lovely "Skin and Bones") to Busta Rhymes ("Stand Too Close"), all backed by soaring choruses guaranteed to fossilize themselves into your brain". Lincoln Journal Star journalist L. Kent Wolgamott gave the album a "B-" grade in his review. While stating that their blend of "classic power pop and punk pop" was repetitive, he did also praise the lyrical content; "My Dinosaur Life is full of complaints and clever cultural observations, insecurities and determination to move forward, a heap of modern confusion that is bound together by the catchy if repetitive music".
All lyrics written by Justin Pierre; all music composed by Motion City Soundtrack.
- "Worker Bee" – 2:25
- "A Life Less Ordinary (Need a Little Help)" – 3:23
- "Her Words Destroyed My Planet" – 3:38
- "Disappear" – 3:12
- "Delirium" – 3:29
- "History Lesson" – 2:35
- "Stand Too Close" – 2:48
- "Pulp Fiction" – 3:53
- "@!#?@!" – 3:00
- "Hysteria" – 3:05
- "Skin and Bones" – 3:36
- "The Weakends" – 4:48
- iTunes pre-order/Japanese bonus track
- "Sunny Day" – 3:10
- Deluxe edition bonus disc
- "A Life Less Ordinary (Need a Little Help)" (alternative version) – 3:20
- "Pulp Fiction" (alternative version) – 3:23
- "So Long Farewell" – 3:07
- "Worker Bee" (alternative version) – 2:36
- "Disappear" (alternative version) – 4:07
|Australian Albums Chart||50|
|US Billboard 200||15|
|US Billboard Alternative Albums||3|
|US Billboard Rock Albums||3|
Motion City Soundtrack
- Justin Pierre – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, lyrics
- Joshua Cain – lead guitar, backing vocals
- Jesse Johnson – moog synthesizer, keyboard
- Matthew Taylor – bass guitar, backing vocals
- Tony Thaxton – drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Mark Hoppus – producer
- Joe Ledbetter – artwork
- Christopher Holmes – engineer
- Andy Wallace - mix engineer
- "Motion City Billboard". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
- Leebove, Laura. "Motion City Soundtrack Ready To Ignite 'Dino'-mite". Billboard. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
- Hoppus, Mark. "I’m In A Press Release". himynameismark.com. Retrieved April 22, 2009.
- "My Dinosaur Life Album Testimonial Video". MotionCitySoundtrack.com. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
- "Motion City Soundtrack Finish New Album". Alter the Press. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
- "Blink-182's Mark Hoppus Grills Motion City Soundtrack About New LP". MTV. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
- "My Dinosaur Life Release Date is January 19, 2010". Motioncitysoundtrack.com. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
- "Motion City Soundtrack - My Dinosaur Life: New Album Order Now". Official Sony Music Store. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
- "New song Disappear available free download now". Motioncitysoundtrack.com. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
- "Disappear Video Premiere". Motioncitysoundtrack.com. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
- "Exclusive: New Motion City Soundtrack Song". Spin. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
- ""Her Words Destroyed My Planet" Video Premiere!". Motioncitysoundtrack.com. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
- "Video Countdown Track 12: "The Weakends" + Live From Vintage Vinyl Tomorrow!". Motion City Soundtrack.com. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- Beringer, Drew. "Motion City Soundtrack - My Dinosaur Life". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
- Apar, Corey. "Review: My Dinosaur Life". Allmusic. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
- Heisel, Scott (February 2010), "Motion City Soundtrack: My Dinosaur Life. The Champ is Here", Alternative Press (259): p91
- Ryan, Kyle. "Motion City Soundtrack: My Dinosaur Life". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
- Greenwald, Andy (January 13, 2010). "Motion City Soundtrack: My Dinosaur Life". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 18, 2010.
- McGrath, James. "Album review: Motion City Soundtrack tabs Mark Hoppus for major label debut". Idobi. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
- Wolgamott, L. Kent. "Review: 'My Dinosaur Life' is repetitive but catchy power pop". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved January 18, 2010.
- Cole, Matthew. "Motion City Soundtrack - My Dinosaur Life". Slant. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
- Wood, Mikael. "Motion City Soundtrack, 'My Dinosaur Life'". Spin. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
- "Quick Spins: Motion City Soundtrack's 'My Dinosaur Life'". The Washington Post. January 19, 2010. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
- "My Dinosaur Life reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
- "Album Top 50 - 07/02/2010". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
- "Motion City Soundtrack Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved February 3, 2010.