This is my first review, so cut me some slack.
Motion City Soundtrack rides the currently fashionable pop-punk/emo wave enough to be successful, but stays obscure and original enough to be pertinent. Incorporating a unqiue lead singer in the form of Justin Pierre (good unique, not bad), two guitars, and a Moog (where the hell have Moogs been for the past twenty years?), Motion City Soundtrack creates a unique, immediately recognizable sound that is, quite frankly, rather good.
On the whole, the album has a nice, complete feel to it. Sitting down and listening to the whole thing is no chore, though occasionally songs blur together (Cambridge and Shiver come immediately to mind), but that's only a small setback.
Cambridge (3/5): Not the best song on the album, the song starts with a cool note that's either a harmonic or the Moog, then goes into some typical pop-punk. By no means a bad song, there are still some better songs that could've opened the album.
Shiver (3/5): When listening to the album cohesively, it seems like Cambridge and Shiver blend together. This song shows off Justin's vocals a little better than Cambridge, as well as Jesse Johnson's synth skills. Again, not the worst track on the album, but by no means the best.
The Future Freaks Me Out (5/5): One of the best tracks on the album, the song starts with an immediately hooky section of the chorus followed by fun Moog and guitars. While it's impossible to decipher entirely what Justin is saying without having the lyrics, enough phrases pop out to make it interesting (What's up with Will and Grace? was the first one that popped out to me). The interlude is very well done, with Justin and another singer singing at the same time. Great track.
Indoor Living (2/5): A pretty mediocre song, as with most of MCS', it is saved only by Justin's vocals and Jesse's synthesizer. Somewhat fast in an oddly melancholy way, this track boasts crunching, redundant power chords and other formulae for success...and yet for some reason fails. Reasonably catchy, way too mainstream sounding. It seems like a boring version of Perfect Teeth.
My Favorite Accident (4.5/5): Another stand-out song, again with a great Moog riff, this song has possibly the greatest verse melodies (guitar included) on the album, and tells a great story, but its choruses ruin it for me. I don't know why, but the chorus doesn't really do it for me. It seems forced. The rest of the song easily makes up for it though.
Perfect Teeth (5/5): The best song on the album I think. The only shortcoming is the very beginning, but the rest is absolutely awesome. Like My Favorite Accident, it tells a great story, and skillfully conveys the nostalgia, especially in the chorus, which in true MCS fashion, is both deep/philisophical and incredibly tongue-in-cheek. A must download.
Boombox Generation (4/5): When I first listened to this song, I was very turned off by the intro. After letting it grow on me, however, this song turned out to be one of my favorites. Unforunately, it sounds very typical, nothing really remarkable except for the main riff. Enjoyable nonetheless.
Don't Call it a Comeback (4.5/5): Opens very fast and powerful with, again, a great little synth riff, slows down a little in the middle, then picks right back up. Definitely wakes you up quite a bit, especially if you're listening to the album all in one sitting. Short, simple, punky, to-the-point, a stand-out track.
Modern Chemistry (4/5): A song that excellently showcases Justin's vocals as well as his songwriting talents, Modern Chemistry is a very melodic, emo-sounding song, a very easy, surprisingly emotionally affecting listen. Another standout track.
Capital H (4.5/5): A great song with a great opening, great melodies, great guitar, and great lyrics. The story of a superhero and his promises to save the world, this track employs a great technique that is rather difficult to pull off by having a line with an impossible amount of syllables and in fact completely losing all sense of melody in the same line, then jumping back into the normal flow of the song. Excellent track.
Red Dress (2/5): This song, for some reason, reminds me of a mixture of Fall Out Boy and Senses Fail. An okay song, not one of the best, and it is in fact here that the album starts to dip. Mediocre song.
Mary Without Sound (3/5): Like Red Dress, a pretty average song, saved mostly by the synth riff and Justin's melody. By now, however, his voice has started to get a little redundant. It's all good though. Again, an average track.
Autographs & Apologies (4/5): Opening like Tbe Future Freaks Me Out with minimal music and mostly vocals, this song is far slower, and a lot like Modern Chemistry in that it is surprisingly emotionally affecting. Basically it's like a slower version of The Future Freaks Me Out. An above-average, but not stand-out, track.
A-Ok (3.5/5): A surprisingly effective finale to the album as a whole, A-Ok is, on it's own, an okay song (no pun intended), but in the context of hte album as a whole, definitely serves it purpose as an excellent ending. A fitting end to the album; slower than the beginning/middle, yet faster than the rest of the end.
Final Grade: 4/5