Originally hailing out of Minneapolis, Minnesota as of 1997, the current roster of Motion City Soundtrack features Justin Courtney Pierre as the lead vocalist and guitarist, Joshua Cain as lead guitarist, Jesse Johnson as keyboardist, Matthew Taylor as bassist, and Tony Thaxton as a drummer. So far, the group has released a total of six studio albums, mainly through the label, Epitaph Records. Motion City Soundtrack is best known for performing in the music genres of emo, pop, and punk, dealing with the subject matter of emotional issues and relationships. Originally, the band was founded by Cain and Pierre. Over the years, there has been a considerable amount of changes to the band’s lineup It wasn’t until 2003 Motion City Soundtrack released its first studio album, (I Am the Movie) in 2003. However, it wasn’t until the 2005 album, (Commit This to Memory) did the group earned its first commercial breakthrough. In 2007, (Even if it Kills Me) shared similar success and for many years Motion City Soundtrack was a staple feature for the Warped Tour concerts that ran its course from 1995 until 2019. For a short while, Motion City Soundtrack signed up with major record label Columbia and released the album, (My Dinosaur Life), in 2010. However, they went straight back to Epitaph Records in 2012 and released their fifth studio album, (Go). The final album the group recorded and released was (Panic Stations), which was released in 2015 before they disbanded a year later. They have, however, reunited as of 2019. In addition to the six studio albums, Motion City Soundtrack also has five extended plays (EPs) to their credit, a live album, fifteen music videos, and nineteen singles.
6. Panic Stations
On September 18, 2015, (Panic Stations) was released as Motion City Soundtrack’s sixth and final studio album. It was not an easy album to do for the group as they lost their long-time drummer, Tony Thaxton in 2013 when he opted to resign from the group. Replacing him was Claudio Rivera, who helped the band continue with their tour and help record new material for this particular album. The album was tracked live, which made the recordings of this album unique from the previous five. It took the band members only fourteen days to complete the recording process and received positive reviews upon its release. However, it debuted low on the album charts belonging to Australia and the U.S. There were three singles released from the album, starting with (TKO), then (Lose Control), and finally (It’s a Pleasure to Meet You). None of the singles received any chart success.
5. I Am the Movie
The debut album for Motion City Soundtrack was (I Am the Movie), which was released on June 24, 2003, through Epitaph Records, an independent label owned by Bad Religion guitarist, Brett Gurewitz. Up to this point, the group had recorded a number of EPs. Originally, the album took ten days to record and it was a stressful experience for the band due to scheduling issues. The tracks were recorded onto a compact disc (CD), then hand-packaged inside a floppy disk. The group’s music did win over a number of interested record labels and by year’s end, signed up with Epitaph. This resulted in Motion City Soundtrack returning to the recording studio to refine the tracks, which included four new songs. The Epitaph version of this album received critical acclaim and had two singles that were released from it. The first was (My Favorite Accident), which did appear on the UK Singles Chart at number 156. The second single, (The Future Freaks Me Out), did not appear on any billboard charts.
(Go) was the fifth studio album Motion City Soundtrack recorded overall, but the first since returning to Epitaph Records. The album was released on June 12, 2012, through that label as well as their own, The Boombox Generation. Initially, the album was recorded without a label before coming up with their own, then entered talks with Epitaph Records. This was the final album featuring Tony Thaxton as the band’s drummer as he announced his departure less than a year later. The album received mixed reviews from contemporary music critics, but positive ones from alternative and punk music critics. There were two singles that were released from the album, starting with (True Romance), then (Timelines). Neither made any impressions on the music charts, but the album did peak at number eight on the US Billboard Independent Albums chart.
3. My Dinosaur Life
The one and only studio album Motion City Soundtrack recorded with major label Colombia Records was (My Dinosaur Life). The hope to achieve commercial success after its January 19, 2010 release was not realized. The theme of growing older and having to contend with relationships, drug abuse, and procrastination were behind Justin Courtney Pierre’s lyrics that did stay true to his form, but it was a step away from the Moog synthesizer the group is best known for in its style of music play. Furthermore, the band’s drummer, Tony Thaxton, broke his arm prior to recording, which resulted in using a drum machine during earlier recordings. The aggressive album received favorable reviews from music critics and sold over 27,000 copies. In 2015, according to the UK’s Kerrang! Magazine, (My Dinosaur Life) was ranked at number eighteen on its 51 Greatest Pop-Punk Albums Ever. There were three singles that were released from the album, starting with (Disappear), then (Her Words Destroyed My Planet), and (A Lifeless Ordinary (Need a Little Help)). None of these three reached any official billboard charts but were cited as superior music of the pop-punk genre, at least according to the critics.
2. Even if it Kills Me
(Even if It Kills Me) was the third studio album recorded by Motion City Soundtrack and released through the independent label, Epitaph Record on September 18, 2007. It served as a follow-up to the previous album, (Commit This to Memor), which served as the group’s commercial breakthrough in 2005. Between that album release and this one, the group toured extensively, which saw frontman Justin Pierre struggle with alcohol and substance abuse. Because of this, much of the music that’s infused into (Even if It Kills Me) has been a reflection of that. On the US Billboard 200 albums chart, (Even if It Kills Me) debuted at number sixteen and at number one on the US Billboard Independent Albums chart. The album received favorable reviews for the most part from the critics, cited as near-perfect pop by Spin Magazine and as one long sugar rush by The New York Times. The album released three singles, (Broken Heart), (This Is for Real), and (It Had to Be You). Between these three, (This Is for Real) hit the music charts, peaking as high as number six on the UK Independent Singles Chart and at number forty-eight on Australia’s ARIA charts. The album’s lead track, (Fell in Love Without You), was not released as a single from the album, but as an acoustic version from its EP, which was released on May 6, 2008. It didn’t chart either.
1. Commit This to Memory
(Commit This to Memory) was the second studio album recorded by Motion City Soundtrack, as well as the group’s most successful. Since its June 7, 2005 release, it has so far sold over 285,000 copies in the U.S. The recording of the album took over six weeks to complete at a time frame when Justin Pierre was seeking treatment for alcohol abuse. The lyrics featured in this album saw stronger lyrical storytelling that came as inspirations while enduring a very busy tour schedule, which included stints during the Warped Tour and as an opening act for the multi-platinum Blink-182. After the tour, Blink’s bassist, Mark Hoppus, became involved with the recording of (Commit This to Memory) to help Motion City Soundtrack evolve its style of music to the next level. This arrangement worked in the band’s favor as it still remains the best-selling album to Motion City Soundtrack’s credit, as well as the commercial breakthrough needed to establish themselves as a star-quality music group. The first single released from the album was (Everything Is Alright), which fell short of reaching the US Billboard Hot 100, but did become certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The next two singles, (Hold Me Down) and (L.G. Fraud) did find any chart placements but were still regarded as the most refined work Motion City Soundtrack had produced so far.