Verdict = As Good As Any Ear Bleeding Country Ever Made
I initially picked up Dinosaur Jr,’s Beyond in a fit of nostalgia. The acquisition was probably one of the most defeated of last year. It felt defeated because I was positive that it was only going to disappoint me as a comeback record is bound to do. Being released after a ten year gap from their last album and almost twenty years since the band had played with its original members, failure was almost a mathematical certainty. The second part of my defeat was the fact that even though I knew the album was destined to forever taint my memory of J. Mascis and Co. I was completely unable to restrain myself from getting the record, like some terrible addiction to the past. So, I eventually got the guts to play the record and to my surprise I left the experience unscathed and still in love with Dinosaur Jr. I considered the experience as some odd grace and immediately detached myself from the record avoiding the repeated listens that would surely reveal holes in the album. Later in some unforeseen turn in mood I haphazardly listened to Beyond again and this time, instead of feeling a casually positive ambivalence, light spread liberally across the record and I began to realize that Beyond may in fact be the best thing I have ever heard from the band. The statement seemed awkward when it streamed through my head but I stuck with the feeling and now, about a bazillion listens later it’s been confirmed: Beyond is outstanding! And as I’m sure other critics have said before me, but it’s important to note that the album feels as fitting today as it would’ve in Dinosaur Jr.’s heyday. So in some weird event involving time machines and ten years of harvested creativity, Dinosaur Jr. has not only created a record that feels like Dinosaur Jr., but they have created a record that sounds like Dinosaur Jr. at the peak of their potential. The accomplishment is possibly the most welcome of surprises in the midst of the continually embarrassing revivals of countless hip bands selling their history for one last shot at some cash. Alas, Dinosaur Jr. is the exception and may their ear-bleeding country live on forever for it.
Dinosaur Jr. - "Almost Ready"