"My Favorite Accident," by the Minneapolis punk group Motion City Soundtrack, is a song that becomes something new every few seconds. The band, guided by drummer Tony Thaxton, keeps switching tempo and tone, pulling the song around a series of hairpin turns. There are parts where it's a fist-pumping singalong, and parts where it's a wordy, moody autopsy of a relationship gone bad, and parts where it sounds like a drum kit falling off the back of a flatbed.
You can't cycle through arrangements like this without also changing the emotional colors of the music. On the verses, frontman Justin Pierre looks back at the scorched earth between himself and a partner: "I got the message long before you said you knew / There was no chance of us at all." He sounds reflective, defeated. But then a jittery backbeat kicks in, and what looked dead a moment before seems like it might still have life in it. "I can't swim in the silence of your--skin! Skin! Please let me in!" Pierre and multiple backup singers hit the word "skin" in unison. It's almost literally galvanizing--my muscles tense involuntarily, when I hear this part--and it offers a glimpse of why Pierre, or his narrator, might consider it worth fighting for what's clearly a lost cause.
This article available online at: