Motion City Soundtrack is an American rock band from Minneapolis, Minnesota, formed in 1997. The band consists of founding members Justin Pierre (lead vocals and guitar) and Joshua Cain (lead guitar and backing vocals), along with keyboardist and moog synthesist Jesse Johnson, bassist and backing vocalist Matthew Taylor, and drummer, percussionist and backing vocalist Tony Thaxton. Motion City Soundtrack has released five studio albums and sold almost 600,000 records throughout their career, including over half a million in the United States alone.
Motion City Soundtrack’s first release was a 7″ single, “Promenade/Carolina”, in 1999. The following year they released their debut EP, Kids for America, and then a second, Back to the Beat. They released their debut album I Am the Movie twice, in 2002. Their first five releases were all self-released with the aid of a small record label. Backed up by their constant touring it fashioned them a fast growing fan base, and a signing with Epitaph Records. After spending their first five years finding the right lineup, the Epitaph re-issue of I Am the Movie in 2003 was the band’s big break. First major single “The Future Freaks Me Out” arrived with live and television success, but failed in radio airplay and the charts. 2003 and 2004 brought three Split EPs alongside Schatzi, Limbeck and Matchbook Romance. The second album, Commit This to Memory, has been their most successful album to date, selling 285,000+ records and peaking at number two on the Independent Albums chart. It featured the single, “Everything Is Alright”, which also found success on the likes of MTV, but also fell short in radio airplay and the charts.
The band released their third full-length album Even if It Kills Me in 2007. The album debuted at number 16 on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Independent Albums chart. It produced singles “Broken Heart”, “This Is for Real” and “It Had to Be You”, which all received television airplay. Motion City Soundtrack released a fourth album entitled My Dinosaur Life in January 2010, which debuted at number 15 on the Billboard 200. It is their first album released on Columbia, a major record label. Motion City Soundtrack’s fifth studio album, Go, was released June 12, 2012 in a joint effort between Epitaph records and the band’s own label, The Boombox Generation.
A large portion of Motion City Soundtrack’s lyrical content is written by lead vocalist, Justin Pierre. Over the years this material has been largely affected by his personal life and past experiences. In 2007, the band’s third album was Pierre’s first “written completely sober, after battling drugs and alcohol for years”.Referencing his accomplishment in the song “Even if It Kills Me”, “I can say that I want to try / To get better and overcome each moment / In my own way.” Pierre says he draws inspiration for lyrics from artists like “Ben Folds and Tom Waits and people who I believe tell stories”. In particular, the song “Antonia” from the band’s third album, was written about a number of real people Pierre knows, including his sister and the band’s drummer Tony Thaxton.He said “It is 100 percent true but not necessarily about one person. But the idea itself is a love story, liking all of those idiosyncrasies and quirks and weird things that are maybe confusing to some people but they all make up this unique individual and you love that person.”Pierre illustrated his Ben Folds influence in the 2007 song, “The Conversation”, saying it was “kind of a Ben Folds-type thing. I was a little nervous that it was a little too Ben Folds, but I was told that it wasn’t, so we just went with it,” commenting “I just think [he’s influenced me] as a lyricist, and he’s got such a great voice. It just kind of melts. Everything he does is pretty much golden as far as I’m concerned.”
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- Motion City Soundtrack: Go (Review) (popmatters.com)
- The Track that Rocked My Week (dontleavetowngavin.com)