Dinosaur Jr. – Where You Been?

Today’s Pick:Dinosaur Jr’s: Where You Been?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where_You_BeenHere’s the Playlist:

Don’t forget people (and by people, I’m mostly trying to call out Josh in a nice way) to get your next 10 albums to me.  Tomorrow’s the deadline.  If you don’t get albums to me, I’m going to add in my own 10 choices and they’ll all be Broadway soundtracks.  I mean, I would be super psyched, but the rest of you would probably cry like children abandoned in a JC Penney’s on Christmas Eve so, quit you’re deliberating and get going.




RC: Dinosaur Jr – Where You Been

YES! I’m going to get to listen to Bang a Gong!

After Listening:
Okay well that was not what I thought it was going to be. Apparently, T.Rex and Dinosaur Jr are extremely different.
The Dino Jr singer kind of sounds like what would happen if Eddie Vedder and the dude from Counting Crows had a baby and the baby wanted to be a tortured artist.

Favorite track/tracks:
What Else is New – The orchestral addition made it very cinematic sounding. I could picture it in a romantic comedy set in Tribeca.
Not the Same – I’ll probably lose a lot of cred, but I really enjoyed Radiohead’s first few albums (and I was nice enough not to pick them for RC so you should add a point in my favor as well) and this song felt a little bit like that mixed with the vocals from Gorillaz.

Least favorite track/tracks:
Get Me – The vocals were hard to understand, much like a shaky elder going into diabetic shock.

Overall (1-5 stars) : 3.5
Despite my desire to listen to T. Rex, this was a welcome return to the less produced music of the nineties that I used to drive around listening to during … cigar (ish) runs.

Mini Music Review (one song)
Band: Crystal Stilts
Song: Through the Floor
Why I liked it: It’s like Jerry Only decided to wear a sailor uniform and lead a beach blanket band at a Crab shack somewhere


Dinosaur Jr – Where You Been: 3 stars

Precon: Straight up rock. Not too hard, not too soft, probably classified as alternative. I’ve heard them quite a few times but I can never remember any songs or what they sound like exactly. They had one minor hit I think. My brother was into them in the 90’s. I remember he had a shirt with this album cover on it.

Favorite Track: I Aint Sayin
Least Favorite: What Else Is New

I guess Start Choppin is supposed to be the hit. Sounds vaguely familiar. Nice riff.
The vocals get on my nerves. I’m trying to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, because there have been many vocalists that I wasn’t crazy over at first but eventually liked, but his singing style detracts from many of the songs. It sounds like he can kinda sing but is doing an impression of someone who can’t. Or someone with laryngitis. There’s that part on Return to the 36 Chambers when ODB goes “Remember when you was young and you used to go a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a”? This guy definitely knows what he’s talking about.
The grandiose drums on Not the Same create an interesting musical landscape, if only the vocals were different…and they are, from the rest of the album, yet somehow worse.
The guitar playing stands out the most and varies quite a bit. Sometimes it sounds like it could be from any 90’s alternative band, other times it sounds like an 80’s hair band.
I Aint Sayin – good way to end the album on the original release.
Good tunes hindered by the singing. Personal preference thing though. I’m sure some people really like it.


Dinosaur Jr-Where You Been

Preconceived Notions:  I get these guys confused with other dinosaur-related acts like T.Rex and Jurassic Five.  I’ve heard a lot of hype about J Mascis and I’ve heard at least one of their songs when BBC 6 randomly plays it.  I’m not sure which song though.  Style-wise, I’m not sure what to really expect at all, which always means I’m slightly nervous.  The big question is though, when something happens to Dinosaur Jr’s Dad, does he then just become Dinosaur?

As Listening:  There’s something about these songs that reminds me of Dawson’s Creek.  That could be happening for several reasons, not the least of which is that it doesn’t take much to remind me of Dawson’s Creek, but I feel like some of these songs are incredibly similar to the ones that they used to put on the soundtrack.

Favorite Tracks-What Else Is New (the ending with the strings, well that’s just my wheelhouse, isn’t it) / Going Home (I like sad songs that don’t have sad arrangements, plus it’s got an organ featured!)
Least Favorites: None, I really didn’t dislike any of them

After Listening: There’s nothing flashy or mind-blowing about this record, I’ll admit that much.  But it’s solid and steady and sure of itself.  It knows exactly the sound that it’s going for, and I feel like if I had heard this in 1993 when it was released, I would have thought it was something special.  It’s just kind of a comforting noise.  I will definitely be listening to this multiple times in the near future.  It may be that everything is just “good” on this album and not “great”, but for not a lot of listening effort, I felt like the payoff was there for me.  There’s something nostalgic, but with enough nice surprises, usually coming in the form of a well-executed guitar solo or unusual instruments, that would make me want to keep coming back to this album.

Overall – 4.2


Preconceived Notions: Guitar magazines in the 90’s used to champion Dinosaur Jr – or at the very least throw them in as one of the 4 tablatures…I guess to seem really alternative and off the radar.  I don’t know, I use to sample a song here and there and wonder what the fuss was all about.   I guess maybe I was biased b/c the guitar playing sounded stale, and here they were lauding praise for mundane rock.  Anyway, I am happy-years later to view an album without the prism of solely musicianship and see what shakes out.

After Listening: Still don’t get any hype on the guitar work, or really much of the musicianship in terms of talent they don’t seem to really be apart from most.  I will say that their arrangements do have their moments as the string sections are at least an attempt to deviate from the norm.  The vocals on this record seem to start off strong-during the poppier ubeat opening tracks, but seem to delve into a bit of whinnying toward the middle and later tracks on the album.  I just sort of get lost on this record, I feel like the 1st 2 or 3 tracks set up something interesting that then denigrated into a long drawn out bland affair.  I have to confess I thought this would sound a little less like straight rock…and for a lot of this album that’s what you’re getting for good or worse.

Favorite Tracks: “What Else is New” –  It starts off with an incredibly cheesy solo that sounds like it belongs on a tv show soundtrack – possibly over the credits.  However, the various vocal deliveries (particularly on the “you-u-u’s” on this make it interesting – and so somehow the cheesy guitar fills sound fitting (there’s some actually good drum fills here as well).  They even shoe-horn in a timpani on this one…I guess for dramatic effect?
“Not the Same” – More tympanis for effect, might be the best music on the album in terms of playing, and composing.  The vocals wander in and out of Neil Young impressions, the clean guitar riffs when accompanied by the tympanis lend some emotion, as do the strings under the verses.  By the time we get to the piano section it’s clear that this song is different from the formula on the rest of the album…and it’s a worthy effort.

Least Favorite Tracks:  “Hide” , “Drawerings”  & “Get me” – The last 2 are drudgey generic little pieces with slow builds and whiny vocals, their arrangements are straight forward and boring, Hide has a better pace, but it’s generic and could easily be the alterna-rock soundtrack to a dance on some lame syndicated tv show.

Overall 2.73  I wanna give them credit for using a variety of instruments on this record.  But they just don’t do enough with them over half the album are songs that seem to lack any sort of emotion, and wind up as generic alterna-rock.  Maybe they got credit for having solos and incorporating a wider tone palate at a time when everyone was Nirvanning up the scene – but taken out of that context/contrast and judged on its own merits it’s not anything particularly strong.


Dino Jr. – Where You Been?

Preconceptions: My pick. I was way into these dudes back in the early 90s. I still listen to this album from time to time these days, so I figured that its lasting impact on me should be shared with the group.

After Listening: I just dig the guitars and the some of the unexpected turns the songs take at times, and I think J. Mascis writes interesting songs and is a weird looking guy. I also don’t really see them as the generic sounding band that a couple of my RC brothers see them as. I think Mascis’ voice, the emphasis on the guitar, with solos, etc, and the general aesthetic of Dinosaur Jr give them a distinct quality in comparison to some other “alternative” bands from the same era.

Favorites: Drawerings, Get Me, Hide
Least: Goin Home

Overall: 4.5 stars


Where You Been? -Dinosaur Jr

Preconceived Notions: I think Dinosaur Jr did that Cure cover I liked for half a summer in my Orlando Exile period. I am prepared to be reminded that I was stupid in the early 90s.

After Listening: The “alternative” rock of the 90s is now just another pile of discs at the Classic Rock stations.

Favorite Tracks: None, really. They all sort of blend together.
Least Favorite Tracks: See above

Overall: Vocally, J Mascis comes off like Neil Young & Thom Yorke had an annoying baby, with a lazy screeching whine that is the least appealing thing about this unlikeable album. I understand Dino Jr was very influential on the 90s AltRock scene, so that may explain why this sounds like generic Clinton-era “Earnest Sweater Rock”. They managed to get Hair & Spandex off the radio, so we owe them for that, but I can’t say I’d want to listen to this again anymore than I’d like to share a South Kirkman Drive condo with Jay Jones and work overnight at Eckerds Pharmacy. Leave the 90s in the 90s.

Rating: 1.72 -It’s not aggressively awful, just not appealing in any way.
Extra Credit: Screaming Trees, I Nearly Lost You , about a dozen other bands

admin (196 Posts)

Record Club began in the cold, dank, snowmageddon scene that was New England of January 2011. We’re probably no different than you. We all work in cubicles, some in smaller, less private cubicles than others; that just means we have to be even sneakier about how we listen to our music. But we have to listen to our music, mostly as a way of saving our own personal sanity. Sometimes our opinions lead us to debates that may or may not be published in their entirety on this site, but I can promise you’ll at least get a glimpse of the way our minds work. The main goal is to find new music we like or find old music that we didn’t know we liked. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes it’s a total and complete disaster. After our ears have rejoiced or stopped bleeding we try something else. This is our pattern, every Tuesday and Thursday. Sometimes, when the club isn’t officially in session, just to keep everyone on their toes, we throw in a theme day. We’re beginning to run low on our original list, so please, if you have albums that you’d like us to review or themes that you’d like to see our playlist of, feel free to contribute. After all, we’re all in this together once we punch the time clock. So if you’re busy (or just plain bored) lurking in your cubicle as you read this join in. After all, life wasn’t meant to be lived staring at a computer screen. I guarantee you, it’s at least more fun when you plug the headphones in.

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