For the Love of Mike Johnson

So I took a week off, so what. My laptops’s dying. But injustice will spur a blogger back to action. For me, P-fork’s 8.4 rating for Dinosaur Jr.’s new album Beyond is so wildly overinflated and off the mark that this one review might be the moment when p4k jumped the shark. I certainly won’t trust their say-so ever again, if I even had, at all, in the past year.

Back in March, I guessed they’d give it a 7.4. I gave them too much credit.

Beyond has its moments, but a 6.5 at most, it being too much Where You Been for my taste. I could take so much issue with reviewer Zach Baron, especially his bizarre notion that the two songs by Lou Barlow, which sadly prove how much was lost by his departure after Bug, “are reminiscent of nothing so much as Mascis’ solo work.”


Not to mention that anyone who’s more than passingly knowledgeable of Mascis’s solo work ought not to be reviewing this album (or anything). That also includes anyone who still owns their copy of Without a Sound.

Don’t get me wrong: I have a certain inbred love for Dinosaur Jr., being old enough to go back to buying You’re Living All Over Me when it arrived on cassette. When I listen to it, I’m immediately drunk at the resevoir with friends in flannel shirts. But I’m not a purist, by nature, not the kind seeking to elevate the past because, well, it’s cooler (although it is). Sonic Youth’s last album might be one of its best five, Mission of Burma’s recent album finally justified their reunion, and Wire’s latest album of a few years ago was amazing. At the same time, the Stooges should have stayed home. Same goes for Lemonheads (if the reunited band is them).

Anyone who reveres Where You Been might be too young to remember how much that album betrayed an established brand, one that hadn’t been tainted with Green Mind despite Lou Barlow’s departure. Where You Been sounded like a goddamn Smashing Pumpkins record, and the show I saw in NYC was so packed with industry fucks swilling cocktails that one could hardly hear the band – and this is a loud band — over their VIP section chatter. Only good thing about the show? A seemingly drunk (and briefly their bassist) Don Fleming introduced Dinosaur Jr. with a gush of rambling, hilarious, and mean-spirited anti-music-industry gibberish.

I left early.