Having garnered much praise and acclaim for their Moog-laced, high-octane, pop-tinged, full length debut I Am the Movie, expectations for Motion City Soundtrack’s follow-up, Commit This to Memory, were astronomically high, especially with Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 fame on board as producer. So, with all the build-up and the big name attached to the project, did Motion City Soundtrack deliver? Absolutely, and then some.
Though I enjoyed quite a few tracks on I Am the Movie, I was really only partial to “The Future Freaks Me Out” and “My Favorite Accident,” thus making it an album I’d spin only every once in a while. On Commit This to Memory, however, the songwriting as a whole is more refined, the production is clearer and suits the band better. And while the I Am the Movie had its share of poppy moments, the new album is poppier in general, something I’m totally down with. Justin Pierre’s candid vocals have taken on a hint of Ben Gibbard’s from Death Cab for Cutie (the beginning of “Together We’ll Ring in the New Year” is about as DCFC-esqe as a song can get), but it works. In summation, I feel like the band stepped everything up a notch with the new album.
Many have complained that “there isn’t enough synth” on the new record, or that “the songs lack the energy of I Am the Movie”—I, however, don’t see what all the fuss is about. Yeah, perhaps the synth isn’t quite as prevalent or mixed as high, but it’s still there; I’m not hearing a huge difference. As for energy, I think “Attractive Today,” “Time Turn Fragile,” and “Better Open the Door” all answer any questions. And anyways, I Am the Movie had its fair share of mid-tempo songs too. I really don’t see that much of a difference between the two records; I think people are just partial to music they discovered when it was still underground. The only real complaint I have with the album is that it kind of trails off at the end, but such is the case with most rock records.
Infectious, brutally self-honest, fun, quirky, and somewhat depressing, all at the same time, Commit This to Memory took me by surprise, and if you haven’t heard Motion City Soundtrack yet (hard to imagine, considering they’re all over MTV2 and Fuse), I highly recommend checking this album out.