Next week Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Motion City Soundtrack will pay the UK one last visit as part of their ‘So Long, Farewell’ tour. Since forming in 1997, the alt-rock/pop-punk quintet have built a dedicated following, going from strength to strength with every album.
Their debut full-length ‘I Am the Movie’ alongside its follow-up ‘Commit This To Memory’ laid down a foundation for what would become the bands trademark sound; emotionally driven powerpop with synths. As their discography grew, so did their sound becoming more layered and lyrically interesting.
Next weeks shows are sure to be a sad affair for those who has grown up with the band. However, we spoke to two of the three bands who will be joining Motion City Soundtrack on their final British trip; The Xcerts and Lacey. Together Murray Macleod (The Xcerts) and Dave Pearson (Lacey) put together a defining playlist of Motion City Soundtrack’s career. From fan favourites to forgotten covers, Murray and Dave have compiled a set of songs that celebrates Motion City Soundtrack.
The Future Freaks Me Out
Dave: You’ve got to kick it off with a track from ‘I Am The Movie’. This is the song that introduced me to Motion City Soundtrack, I immediately went out and bought the album and an extra small brown MCS shirt with a palm tree on it upon hearing it. I’ve still got it (it no longer fits). Amongst all the beautiful analogies and sentiments they’ve got this knack for just writing songs that will immediately make you jump up and down in unison with everyone else listening, or, if you’re anything like me, just you by yourself bounding down the street with your headphones on.
Murray: The first time I saw MCS was in 2004, they were supporting Blink-182 on their self titled album tour and I distinctly remember losing my shit when they played this song. My bud had made a MCS mixtape before the concert and this was definitely the song that initially grabbed my attention.
My Favourite Accident
Murray: My main man Jesse (Johnson) lays down a synth line so sensual on this number it makes me feel like i’m romantically embracing a Moog synth.
Time Turned Fragile
Dave: This is probably my favourite Motion City Soundtrack song. It’s upbeat and melancholic, which is almost impossible to pull off. Everyone knows how important ‘Commit This To Memory’ is. There’s two songs on that album that never fail to jab me in the heart, ‘Hold Me Down’, and this one; ‘Time Turned Fragile’. I read somewhere that they had the bones of a song that didn’t have an ending, and then this crazy drum part that wouldn’t fit anywhere, and they just put them together to form this song. Tony (Thaxton)’s drums in the bridge are incredible.. I have wasted so many hours trying to learn that beat.
Don’t Call It A Comeback
Murray: If this song doesn’t make you want to jump around your bedroom like a 13 year old air guitar god / goddess I don’t know what will.
Wait So Long
Dave: Controversially going for a cover here, just to highlight how brilliant they are at covers (see also their cover of ‘Truth Hits Everybody’). This is their version of a song by a band called Trampled By Turtles who are an awesome folky bluegrass band, and the original is amazing, but the Motion City Soundtrack cover is incredible. Like all good covers they make it their own – lyrically it sounds like it could have been on any MCS album. Check out the original as well while you’re at it. It’s great.
When ‘You’re’ Around
Murray: Justin (Pierre)’s vocals sound gritty on this track, reminiscent of a young Matt Skiba in fact, and that’s a hell of a vibe right? Right.
It Had To Be You
Dave: I had to put this song on here! As well as being another huge tune, it just personally takes me back to that awesome summer when ‘Even If It Kills’ me came out, wondering if it’d live up to its predecessor. It did.
The Worst Part
Murray: Listen to that drum beat!! That’s a really nice drum beat.
Dave: A few years back I saw the guys playing their first two albums back to back in London, and at the end of the set after playing for like two hours, they casually said “we’ll have a new song out soon called ‘Inside Out’”, and some guy shouted “play it!”, so they looked at each other and were like “Alright!” So yeah, I saw that absolute banger being played live for the first time ever!
Murray: This is such a great pop song!! Why wasn’t this a hit? Was it a hit? If I’m uncertain as to whether it was a hit or not, that most likely means it wasn’t a hit which is total bullshit. Throw this on when the sun is out, grab yourself a cold one and love your life.
Dave: I can remember hearing this for the first time and really being taken back by how much more aggressive it sounded compared to what you might expect from a Motion City Soundtrack song. It just goes to show that they can have you on the brink of tears one minute to kicking over your furniture the next. Justin’s always been this amazingly smart lyricist and this song, this whole album actually, is another great showcase for that.
Murray: “Discovered sex at seventeen and soon thereafter self esteem”. Great line, can relate.
I Can Feel You
Dave: From their awesome and probably-last record ‘Panic Stations’. I love the outro to this song, it’s like they have a certain frequency that they just drop into some songs to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up just because they can.
Floating Down The River
Murray: When the first chorus hits, I defy you to tell me you don’t picture yourself floating down a river. I’m serious. 55 seconds in. If you like, you can include me in your mind picture, waving merrily whilst stood on the river bank.
Days Will Run Away
Murray: Motion City Soundtrack does epic! I feel like this song could have hinted at what was to come from the band but (perhaps) we’ll never know now. A great song to sign off with.
Dave: You need a solid contemplative, reflective song to finish any playlist. ‘Hello Helicopter’ is definitely that. Poignant and brilliant, you’ll probably be sat there for a good 10 minutes in silence after listening to this, just staring blankly ahead and wondering what the hell you’re going to do with yourself now that Motion City Soundtrack are breaking up. You’re welcome. Just do what I plan to do – go to these shows, listen to all of their albums on a loop for a month, and weep into your extra small brown Motion City Soundtrack shirt as you think about all the good times you had together.
Motion City Soundtrack’s final UK tour will be hitting the following dates:
Wed 17 O2 Ritz, Manchester
Thu 18 O2 Institute 2, Birmingham
Fri 19 O2 Forum Kentish Town, London
Support comes from Dinosaur Pile-Up, The Xcerts and Lacey.