There are times when I think that writing for this blog has really fucked with my ability to be a fan of anything. Because yes, I consider myself a music fan first and foremost. And yet because we’ve had this ongoing conversation about pop culture on this blog that has forced us to think about things much in the way that professional critics do, it tends to make me (and I’m assuming Sean and John) a little more hesitant to enjoy things that I most certainly should enjoy without reservation.
Case in point, this newest Dinosaur Jr. record. It’s been out for almost a month now, and I think its taken me until now to accept that this is not just a really good Dinosaur Jr. record, but a really good record in general. And why is that so hard to accept? I like Dinosaur Jr.! I’ve liked Dinosaur Jr. for a long time! And yet while thinking about this album, the dumb music critic in the back of my head has to sit there going, “Well, I mean this band peaked in the late ’80s and probably haven’t been truly relevant since 1993’s Where You Been“.
But I guess I have to ask how “relevant” an opinion like that is nowadays. If something sounds good, that probably means it is good, right? And Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not most certainly sounds good. Sure, it by no means sees this band reinventing themselves, but I think this is a band that realizes it doesn’t need to. Or maybe it doesn’t, since J. Mascis doesn’t strike me as a guy who thoroughly maps out every single one of his career decisions, but rather goes by his gut. That’s definitely the vibe I got from him when I saw the mighty Dinosaur live a few years ago, as Mascis’s cascading guitar solos seemed to go on as long as his gut told him, while Lou Barlow and Murph were there to steer the sludgy ship wherever it needed to go.
That said, the interlocking nature of these three musicians has always felt like a bit of a combative one, but with these past few Dinosaur Jr. albums (Give A Glimpse is the fourth since the band re-united in 2005), it seems like they’ve grown more harmonious, but without ever sacrificing their sublime loudness. This seems most apparent on songs like “Be A Part” or “Lost All Day”, which I guess technically count as Dinosaur Jr. ballads, yet still manage to have that kind of monolithic power that this band naturally possesses, while also embodying the reflectiveness and vulnerability that comes with growing older. It makes for an album that’s easy to put on and enjoy on a lot of different levels, which has certainly helped give me the strength to tell my inner music critic to go suck on it.
Favorite Tracks: “Going Down”, “Tiny”, “Lost All Day”