After the success of second studio album Commit This to Memory, Motion City Soundtrack released Even If It Kills Me in 2007. Though this album did not outshine its predecessor, it is certainly able to hold its own. While easily one of the poppiest and catchiest records of the MCS discography, Even If It Kills Me does not particularly show any growth or maturation of the band’s sound. If anything, they have lost all traces of punk with this record and have become purely pop-rock. With that said, this album is a solid building block in the MCS repertoire.
With notable producers and guest vocals, this album received widely favorable reviews and reached #1 on the Billboard Independent chart. The record was tag-team produced by Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), Eli Janney (Girls Against Boys) and Ric Ocasek (The Cars). Some extra star power came in the form of guest vocals from Say Anything’s Max Bemis, The Matches’ Shawn Harris, and Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer’s Rachel Minton.
The first single released, “Broken Heart,” is a bit reminiscent of the band’s past releases. The second single “This Is for Real” is infectiously upbeat and is a great example of the quirky lyricism we have come to expect from MCS. Album opener “Fell in Love Without You” comes in swinging with one of the catchiest hooks of the album, and is also the shortest track — a punk formula divinely adapted for this sound.
“Hello Helicopter” and “Point of Extinction” continue on with the bubbly pop-rock, while the title track and final song “Even If It Kills Me” slows it down a bit without sacrificing catchiness. Meanwhile, piano-driven “The Conversation” throws us a curveball, as a bleak ballad seems to really have no place on this record.
Overall, this album is nothing out of the ordinary for Motion City Soundtrack. They have always delivered strong rock with poppy hooks, and Even If It Kills Me is more of the same. This album is perhaps more polished than debut I Am The Movie, though not quite as strong as Commit This to Memory. They aimed to satisfy their pop-loving audience and they delivered; however, there was no expert guitar work on this album, no standout tracks, and no memorable depth. Though not their best release, Even If It Kills Me solidified their sound and brought us more of what we have come to know and love.