Sunday, August 23, 2009

RIP Dinosaur Jr (Please).

Dinosaur Jr changed my life. Sometime over the summer of 1993, my first girlfriend gave me a vinyl copy of “You’re living all over me.” I am at a loss for words, or space in this post, to explain all the implications of this album on my mind, or on where my life went from that moment. This may sound rather melodramatic, but it really is hard to over-estimate the effect of the band on me over the years.

But all things must pass. Dinosaur’s new album “Farm” marks, after over twenty years, the death of the band. Only the bands you are truly close to can really let you down, and really raise your ire. That is true in this case. I have to confess that listening to “Farm” makes me feel angry. It is so complacent. It so completely misunderstands what made the band fantastic for many, many years, as if the deep connection I thought I had made with what J, Lou and Murph were doing was hollow.

Its guitar tone is certainly loud, but somehow it’s clean and regular in a way the early Jr seemed dead-set against. The solos are casual and tuneless, an exercise in posturing instead of a representation of angst or pain. The lyrics have a ‘by numbers’ feel to them which would make J Mascis of old roll in his metaphorical grave. Where they got everything right with “Dinosaur,” “Bug,” and “You’re living all over me,” and produced a lot of great material on the many albums that followed, “Farm” is the antithesis of that immensely powerful, immensely beautiful sound.

In a few weeks you will have to chance to make your own mind up, because Dinosaur Jr are coming to Boston on tour. Will I be there? After listening to “Farm” over the last few weeks, it’s going to be a truly difficult decision. I suppose it should really be about letting go – of my youthful exuberance, and of the notion that Jr could be endlessly inspiring. That would be a lot easier though, if they would let me go too, and stop flogging their crumpled image to me, as if I were still besotted.


Cheryl said...

Hey there, Nick. I just read this post - I actually read it out loud so that Rich could hear it too. This makes me a little sad. But I like how you captured how the band affected you early on in your life. Thanks. So, my guess is that you won't be at the show. Rich will be there on Saturday night. He'll give you a full report on Sunday...that is, unless you don't want to hear it... ;)

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