Dinosaur Jr rule all, have always ruled all, and will forever rule all. That is just facts, people. I have long loved this band and their awesome sonic squalor. J Mascis, guitarist extraordinaire, once described their music as "ear-bleeding country." This is an apt description. Thurston Moore recalled seeing Dinosaur perform in NYC in the 80's and being amazed at how effortlessly the band would slide from melodic, twangy rock to massive shards of white noise, to soft rumbles of depression and back again, all in the same song! I love when music does that. Too many people assume that depression is inert. It is most definitely not always that way. Depression can be rage-filled, actively destructive, and violent.
I think my first exposure to Dinosaur was, like a lot of MTV-addicted youngsters back in the day, seeing (and taping onto a VHS), the video for "Thumb" off of 120 Minutes. Something about the mood created by the intro to that song, coupled with the self-effacing and honestly depressed lyrics really got to me. I watched that video over and over again, eventually memorizing every second of J's amazing solo at the end of the song. I went out and bought the Green Mind album, and immediately became a fanatic for Dinosaur Jr.
J Mascis sang in a voice that was so lethargic, so completely apathetic, so very SLACK, that he became the guitar god of slackers everywhere. He was so loved for his honesty about plainly not giving a single fuck about anything that Thurston Moore wrote the Sonic Youth classic "Teenage Riot" as an homage, describing what would happen if the apathetic youth of America voted J Mascis for President. AWESOME. His lyrics were also prime examples of a human being who knows he is damaged, is not too worried about it, and would rather just be left alone. I think a lot of people can relate to that. On the drums was Murph, a man of few words who could blast forth a beat like no one's business, holding it down for J to shred his guitar histrionics. On bass and vocals was Lou Barlow, at least for the first few albums. He wrote songs too, usually extremely lo-fi recordings (before "Lo-Fi" as a genre was a thing) of himself singing about how much chicks sucked and how his heart was broken so bad and how it just pissed him off. We can all relate.
Once Lou and J parted ways Dinosaur became the J show, and shifted slightly to anthemic slack-rock, if there can be such a thing! Amazing album after amazing album followed. The original crew has gotten back together again and is recording and touring. Thank the slack gods for that. How do three guys make so much noise?
Dinosaur Jr - Thumb
"There never really is a good time/ There's always nothing much to say/ Pretty good not doing that fine/ getting up most every day..."
Dinosaur Jr - Freak Scene
"So fucked I can't believe it/ If there's a way I wish we'd see it/ How could it work, just can't conceive it/ what a mess, best just to leave it..."
Dinosaur Jr - "Little Fury Things"
(I love the screams that begin this song. LOVE THEM. My brain explodes in soundgasms when I hear it)
Dinosaur Jr - No Bones
(There is a sonic moment in this song of supreme skronkability that may be my single most favorite moment in Dinosaur Jr's discography. It happens at 2:43. It is such a squall of noise. It is glorious. I turn it up SO LOUD. It erases all thought from my head and instead fills me with a noise zen that I find hard to describe.)
Dinosaur Jr - Whatever's Cool With Me
"I can't take it back today/ You wouldn't dig it anyway"
Dinosaur Jr - I'm Insane
Dinosaur Jr - Repulsion
"I could run but I stand and greet it/ Boredom won't starve as long as I feed it..."
Dinosaur Jr - Sludgefeast
"I'm waiting, please come by/ I've got the guts now to meet your eye"
Dinosaur Jr - The Wagon
"I ring the doorbell in your mind/ but it's locked from the outside/ You don't live there anyway/ but I knock on it all day..."
Dinosaur Jr - Budge
(Fuck I love this song. I love how it starts off blasting forth. Nothing like Dinosaur Jr to make me feel great!)