Everyone has those bands that stay with them forever. I’m sure some people much smarter than me have tried to figure out what it is about certain songs heard at certain points in our lives that make them so precious to us. It must be something more than a way of reliving a memory of a happy time, since it’s just as often that music we heard at times of our lives that we’d rather not revisit becomes songs and artists we are devoted to.
Whatever the science or psychology behind this passionate attachment, one band that was and is extremely important to me is Motion City Soundtrack. I bought their second album, Commit This to Memory, after hearing their single Everything is Alright on the music video channel FUSE. I was fifteen at the time and just starting to get into alternative rock in a big way. A year later I would move from my childhood home in a small suburb in Maryland to a slightly bigger suburb in Washington State. Motion City Soundtrack stayed with me. Just before we moved I received the band’s first album, I am the Movie, which was released in 2003. The CD played on loop as I set up my new room and prepared a new me for all my new schoolmates to meet. Given the uncertainty of my life at the time, the track The Future Freaks Me Out became an anthem to me and in some ways is still my favorite MCS song.
The great thing about discovering a band or artist both early in their career and in your youth is that you can grow up with them. Each new album coincides with a new era in your life, and if the band is really talented, they have as many new things to say every time as you do. Even If It Kills Me came out just as my heart was being broken for the first time, very reflective of the melancholy tone of the whole album. I wrote the lyrics of the title song into a letter I gave to the boy who shattered me, feeling that it perfectly captured the crushed, but defiant nature of my feelings at that moment. (In case you’re curious, that boy is now, and has been, my boyfriend for the past six years – thanks MCS!)
Their two latest albums, My Dinosaur Life (released in 2010) and Go (released in 2012), I’m honestly still digesting, four and three years later. I don’t think I quite have the perspective yet that I need to identify why these two albums resonated with me like the ones before, but graduating college and feeling invincible and then having to come to terms with a simultaneously boring and stressful adult life definitely has to be in there. At the moment, I think I prefer My Dinosaur Life, but I’ve had longer to live with it – and really, the music video for Her Words Destroyed My Planet is just too awesome to ignore.
The point is Motion City Soundtrack’s music continues to resonate with me because their material reflects their own personal growth as well as a sort of universal development of humanity. Each of their albums are full of stories and sagas of their own, speaking honestly and openly about the everyday ups and downs of life that we all face and experience. There are a lot of different bands that have stuck with me in the same way Motion City Soundtrack has, but their unique mix of personal drama and pop-punk style has really made them special to me. It’s important to find other artists, in many fields, who fuel your own creative soul at whatever stage in your life you happen to find yourself in. For me, that is definitely Motion City Soundtrack.
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