Motion City Soundtrack acquired appropriate bragging rights when their second album, Commit This to Memory, avoided the notorious “sophomore slump.” This release secured their reputation as leaders in their genre and provided evidence of their potential. At the time of its release, the album was met with positivity. Now, a whole seven years later, I still find myself enthralled.
The first thing to applaud about this record is its ability to stay on task. The overall theme is pretty pessimistic, but MCS does a tremendous job of utilizing that topic throughout, creating cohesiveness and connection. The winter theme is apparent in songs like “Resolution,” “Feels Like Rain,” and “Together We’ll Ring in the New Year” and offers a twist on their cold, damp plots. The band also employs generous amounts of varied subject matter so the album doesn’t falter to a certain way. There’s no abundance of nauseating love songs, but the songs about self-hatred don’t create an over-annoyance either. The focus on the band’s personal nuisances makes this record more relatable, giving it a certain character and charm.
The lyrics are also strong. Each song comes armed with essential tools and devices. “Everything is Alright” employs repetition to emphasize its point in the lines, “tell me that you’re alright/yeah everything is alright/oh please tell me that you’re alright/yeah everything is alright.” “Hold Me Down” employs metaphors to create easily rendered imagery. Lines like, “You’re the echoes of my everything/you’re the emptiness the whole world sings at night/you’re the laziness of afternoon/you’re the reason why I burst and why I bloom” help to stress the obstacles of this song’s theme while giving it that personal stamp. The ever-popular “L.G. FUAD” also uses the best of Motion City Soundtrack, as they demonstrate their cleverness with lines like, “let’s get fucked up and die/I’m speaking figuratively, of course/like the last time that I committed suicide….social suicide/yeah, so I’m already dead…on the inside/but I can still pretend with my memories and photographs/I have learned to love the lie.”
Lastly, the music involved in this record is also strong and essential to creating the overall mood. Nothing seems out of place as each song utilizes its accompanying instruments to create dramatics and employ excitement. The songs, or song parts, that require a little more musical attention get it through strong rhythms and unique melodies. These gems are so inherently different -except for that central theme- that each song is a totally new experience.
Although time has made me a different person with new experiences, this record has definitely remained as necessary to me. Motion City Soundtrack’s ability to relate themselves to everyone else while offering a different viewpoint is essential to creating a timeless record, like I believe Commit This to Memory to be. Good for a regular pick-me-up, or to handle something bigger, this record has it all.