Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rock of Ages: Dinosaur Jr. - "Pick Me Up" (2007)

Surprisingly, Dinosaur Jr., and it's original lineup of J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph came back from the dead to recreate their sound and make an album almost 20 years after they splintered off as a band. 1988's Bug was the last album the three original members of Dinosaur Jr. did before breaking apart and even though J's attempts at keeping the name alive found some great albums, the sound was somehow a little different. When 2007 rolled around and Beyond dropped, it was a pleasant return to form, yet an upgrade of sorts. It was still Dinosaur Jr. making bloody good and loud as fuck rock and roll, but it was more mature and fleshed out. "Pick Me Up" is definitely the most compelling song in Dinosaur Jr's career. Everything is amped up to the highest heights and the grandiosity of it is only in it's length and constant shifts in scope and tempo. It may be an epic, but nothing is glossy about it. The signature sludge of Dino Jr. is still heavily intact. Thanks mostly in part to Mascis wonderful songwriting and Murph and Barlow's insistent rhythm section.

"Pick Me Up" has 5 significant movements during it's 6:32 sprawl. It's one crushing opening and verse/chorus riff starts things off intensely before the squeel and churn of the pre-bridge comes howling in. After this first bridge we get a slower breakdown of sorts. Slower only compared to what preceeded it. Less constant waves of distortion and more intense but pointed riffing which immediately flows into the best guitar solo of the new millenium. The guitar solo continues to the end when the final movement sees the loudest wave from Murph's drums and Barlow's thumping bass. It's rivetting. It's like watching a single shot intense scene in a film. Brilliantly choreographed and never a moments rest. I could see someone mashing this song up to the intense single shot climax in Children of Men and it making it more badass. One thing that is very impressive about "Pick Me Up" and Dinosaur Jr. in general is their ability to make such loud, bombastic and engaging music with just three people. It's breathtaking and it's good to have them back and in their best form yet. This year's Farm is almost as good as Beyond if not better once I let it sink in. We'll see.

Up Next: Beck finally emerges on the Rock of Ages list

No comments: