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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just like the good ole daze, and maybe a little better...
("Beyond" by Dinosaur Jr.)

It's pretty much a fact of life these days that long-broken-up bands will reunite. What's surprising is that many of them have managed to retain the qualities that made them popular to begin with. Sometimes the bands will take the opportunity to reinvent themselves a bit (Wire's '02 comeback Send). Mostly, though, they go for their...
Published on May 1, 2007 by Scott Bresinger

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 5 STARS for the original disc, 2 STARS for the "import/extra tracks" value
Just to make it perfectly clear, I think 'Beyond' is a brilliant album by the re-formed original lineup that harkens back to their earlier material and is certainly worthy of 5 stars. It never travels too far from my CD player. That being said, I sprung for the "import" version that has two extra tracks: "Yer Son" (a good, but not great, Dino Jr. song) and "Tiny Town"...
Published on January 13, 2009 by Johnny Trouble


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just like the good ole daze, and maybe a little better..., May 1, 2007
By 
This review is from: Beyond (Audio CD)
("Beyond" by Dinosaur Jr.)

It's pretty much a fact of life these days that long-broken-up bands will reunite. What's surprising is that many of them have managed to retain the qualities that made them popular to begin with. Sometimes the bands will take the opportunity to reinvent themselves a bit (Wire's '02 comeback Send). Mostly, though, they go for their "original" sound, and usually the "original" songs, of their youth. It didn't really surprise me when Dinosaur Jr. reformed, even with all the personal drama surrounding the band's glimmer twins J. Mascis and Lou Barlow (all of which is beautifully dissected in Michael Azerrad's book Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991). I saw them live not long after the reunion was announced, and even though Mascis' curtain of brown hair had turned into a curtain of gray hair that made him look more like the lead vocalist for a Norwegian Black Metal band, their sound was remarkably consistent from the good ole daze. Fast forward to '07, and would ya believe that the new album is remarkably close in sound and general purpose to albums like the still-incredible Bug? Ultra-loud n' dirty grunge-stomp blues/country/punk, and can I have another solo please?--then add on some sweet, wistful pop melodies just to make things more confusing. It's almost as if the last 19 years never happened (although the post-breakup Dino Jr. albums, not to mention Barlow's influential Sebadoh, are nothing to sneeze at). At least, that's what I thought at first. Upon repeated listens, slight refinements and tweaks can be heard. Chief among these are the number of Mascis' guitar solos. Obviously he realizes his role as a post-punk guitar hero, and this album fills in every available space, and creates new ones, for his beautifully unconventional shredding skills. The second half of the 6 1/2 minute "Pick Me Up" is a joyful celebration of over-amped sloppiness--which is a pretty high compliment in my neck of the woods. While there are no songs here as immediately memorable as "Freak Scene" (which has become an anthem of sorts for alt-rock weirdos like yours truly), songs like the album opener "Almost Ready" come pretty close, and to compound the non-surprises, it might even become more highly enshrined in my musical head-space. Meanwhile, there's the soft ballad "I Got Lost," with its almost jazz-like drumming (all hail Murph, by the way) and washes of plaintive violin, which I don't think the Dino of old was even capable of. Barlow's "Lightning Bulb," one of two contributions from him on the album, reminds us what a great songwriter he always was (Sebadoh proved this), and makes me glad that he and Mascis were able to resolve their personal animosities. All this, and I haven't even mentioned the influence of Neil Young & Crazy Horse--that, then is what makes this album one step Beyond (sorry, I couldn't resist): The good ole daze were never this good!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pick This Up, May 6, 2007
By 
John (Cleveland, OH) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beyond (Audio CD)
Well, Dinosaur Jr are back together and in fine form after only 18 years since `Bug'. One wonders why they waited so long? Maybe with the Jesus and Mary Chain and other great underground acts to gain popularity during the eighties all reforming recently it just seemed like the thing to do? Some naysayers out there might say that after such a long time they are just not the same, but one listen will have you jumping on the wagon and saying yeah right. Now I ain't sayin' that this is as good as `You're Livin' All Over Me' but it's damn close and you should get out and grab it immediately.

Alright that first paragraph was just ridiculously stupid and indulgent. But seriously now, this reunion album is just so amazing I don't know how to tell you other than - like literally EVERYONE has said - it sounds like the last 18 years never happened. The only thing that keeps it from being as good as `Bug' and it's predecessor is the test of time. The guitar playing throughout - riffs, solos, and acoustic - doesn't fall below the quality of the J's best work, at times it's actually way better, and the same goes for the songwriting. The drumming just hasn't been this good ever (probably because J relinquished Nazi-like control over Murph).

"Almost Ready" was of course the first single. It opens the album in typical Dinosaur fashion. It's fast and loud. Murph rides the backbeat perfectly. J's singing is as laconic as ever and his soloing is everywhere. The song actually ends with two solos laid over each other. "Crumble" continues in what I feel could be an even catchier, better single. The guitar riffs are not only happier sounding, but are less crowded than "Almost Ready".

Listening to "Pick Me Up" for the first time, the fast, sludgefesty riffing, the great lyrics recalling the years ("I been wasted all these years/still the man that disappeared/I been left and I been wronged/and I don't think I belong/am I wrong...all along?"), the cool mellowed-out bridge where it's all laid out ("did I need you/all the while/I can't stop/it's always been/I feel useless/you just smile/can I scream/am I hurt/am I still wasted/am I still burnt/can I bend/to your will/y'know I need to/have a plan...") and then the solo takes over for the next three straight minutes and it is no exaggeration to tell you that you have never heard anything like this out of J on any recording, ever. On this solo I'd put Mascis up there against any of the greats. The first listen to this song, for any Dino fan, is nothing short of what a born again Christian must feel when they're born again.

"This Is All I Came to Do" is another one of Dinosaur Jr's best songs. Beginning right off the bat with a frenetic solo that leads into the slacker-anthem lyrics "take my problems/take me anyplace/take my mi-mi-mind as well/I been tryin/I got nothing else/it's down to you/as you can tell" it blossoms into a great little rock song with a really catchy, slacker-themed chorus and typically amazing solos.

"It's Me" starts with the biggest drum sound the original trio have ever conjured. It's joined by the murky swamp of J pounding the E string, punctuated with shimmery, sustained bar chords. "We're Not Alone" turns the focus slightly more on the country than the ear bleeding, as the music starts to become more melodic (at least on J's songs) from here to the end of the album - and in a completely good way. This song also has a solo to rival "Pick Me Up". "I Got Lost" takes it one step further with J singing in his "Not the Same" falsetto and is an entirely acoustic mellow ballad.

So after listening to this album now for about the 15th time in less than a week, it's still up there with the original three albums. It's almost as if they band had been hibernating and reawakened still fully formed, ready to shake off that cold with some hair-raising rock like you have not heard in a while. This is better than the Raconteurs, White Stripes, or any of that new revival garage rock, even as much as I love it. If you never heard Dinosaur Jr before, now is the time to start listening.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 5 STARS for the original disc, 2 STARS for the "import/extra tracks" value, January 13, 2009
This review is from: Beyond (Audio CD)
Just to make it perfectly clear, I think 'Beyond' is a brilliant album by the re-formed original lineup that harkens back to their earlier material and is certainly worthy of 5 stars. It never travels too far from my CD player. That being said, I sprung for the "import" version that has two extra tracks: "Yer Son" (a good, but not great, Dino Jr. song) and "Tiny Town" (40 seconds of punk riffing that could've been done by anybody). In my opinion, not worth twice (or more) the price of what the regular release is going for. Unless you're a die-hard Dinosaur Jr. completist or can find the "extra tracks" version at a great price, just buy the regular version and use the money saved to buy a copy of 'You're Living All Over Me', 'Green Mind' or some other early Dinosaur Jr.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than we had any right to expect -- essential even for the nonfan, March 27, 2008
This review is from: Beyond (Audio CD)
Like most fans of Dinosaur Jr. from the old days, I had no expectation that this album would be one of their best. I was psyched to hear that the band was going to do a new album after the unanticipated reunion and tour of the original line up, but while the idea of them playing their old material live was exciting, I figured that like most bands that had reunited, their new material would be interesting at best and more probably just a tad sad. Instead, we got a shockingly good album.

And J. Mascis is back. I'd heard some of his post-DJ solo work and while some of it was somewhat interesting, I was never blown away like I had been with YOU'RE LIVING ALL OVER ME, BUG, or GREEN MIND. And his guitar playing just stopped having the same kind of fire that it had had with those albums. That was tragic because I thought Mascis one of the greatest guitarists of the eighties, maybe the greatest guitarist of the late eighties. His playing on this new album shows him completely and utterly back in form.

You have to understand that when I was a kid (imagine the latter as said by Walter Brennan), me and my friends would engage in savage arguments about the various guitar gods. We'd play and replay solos by Rory Gallagher or Roy Buchanan or Phil Keaggy (who proved that you could be a born again Christian and still play the guitar) or he who was Hendrix and debate their pros and cons, insisting on the merits of this guitar deity over that one. We'd almost come to blows over Clapton versus Allman on LAYLA. Hearing Mascis's best solos on this album makes me want to contact my old college music buddies and kindle a new debate. This is without question some of the best guitar playing you'll ever hear. It isn't the best song on the album, but the long guitar solo that starts at the 3:34 mark of "Pick Me Up" and lasts precisely the last three minutes of the cut goes on my short list of the greatest guitar solos I've ever heard. Mascis plays not merely as if his life depended upon his playing, but something greater, like the future of Western Civilization or the existence of joy. When I was a kid would-be guitarists would carefully reconstruct and practice Jimmy Page's solos. Aspiring guitarists today could do no better than memorize and master ever note of "Pick Me Up." It'd be a chore, but by the end you'd be a really decent guitarist.

One reason Mascis's playing stands out on this album is that in this mix the guitarist is brought completely to the forefront. On a lot of classic albums the guitar was obviously present, but it would sometimes not stand out from the rest of the stuff going on. "Grunge" really did apply to it. There is a clarity here often lacking in the past. The playing here is really in-your-face and all the better for it.

But this album is more than Mascis's complete return to form as a guitar god; it is a killer collection of songs. A couple of the cuts are weak toward the end, but even those have some interesting moments. And a few of the songs are just extraordinary, like the opening number, "Almost Ready." My favorite part of the album, however, is probably the back-to-back-to-back-to back of "Pick Me Up," "Back to Your Heart," "This is All I Came to Do" (with some really splendid playing by Mascis), and "Been There All the Time."

This is just a great album but I do have the same complaint that I had with the first appearance of Dinosaur Jr. and also Lou Barlow's various projects like Sebadoh is the cruddy singing. You'd think that writers as good as Mascis and Barlow would result in at least one person with some minimal ability to sing, but no such luck. Here is my test for singing in a rock band: they have to be better than me. They are not. So hey guys, sign me up! You'd sound better. Seriously, I can't understand how a band with this much talent could be vocally deficient.

This is just a must-get album. I'm really tempted to call this the best reunion album ever. I'd have to think about that some more to stand by that statement, but if it isn't the best it has to be in the top two or three.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Strong Album/Bad Sonics-- 3.9999 Stars, August 18, 2007
By 
Mark L (Verona, WI USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beyond (Audio CD)
Always had Din Jr. on my radar...has constantly come up as "if you like this, you'd like them..." however, material and samples I've heard from them never did it for me. Until this album.

Believe me, I have enough experience with music and the decline and reunion of bands to know that 99 times out of a hundred...you should never start out (as a first CD) with a late release... Granted, without really knowing the earlier material, I have to think that this album is an anomaly in that it could easily stand with their strongest earlier material (this seems to be supported by earlier reviews as well).

I'm not really going to get into a song by song critique...I just really like the layered guitar work, the catchy lyrics, JM's vocals, the nice hooks, etc.

The only (complaint) I have is the sonics/recording quality are absolutely horrible. I get the whole 'lo-fi' movement, and can usually appreciate it. Often, with Indie music...low-fi recording enhances the emotional impact. However, this recording is so bad, it makes old 8-tracks sound like hi-fidelity. I think my enjoyment of this album slightly suffers for it. Can't really fault the artist for that though...can I?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's like they've been here all the time, June 22, 2007
This review is from: Beyond (Audio CD)
Let's be honest, there really are 2 Dinosaur Jrs. One with and one without Lou Barlow. His presence in the band has inevitably influenced the sound over the years, or if you prefer, his exclusion has given J Mascis "carte blanche" as far as moulding it to his liking. Mind you, I never thought either was worse than the other. I love all of DJ's albums, from the first to the last, for various reasons.

Up until and including Bug, DJ was a more of a low-fi, post-punk, pre-grunge band and the pop element was only lightly hinted. From Green Mind on, it became more present and truly characterized the band's sound and it's popularity in the `90s, along with J's drawl and scorching solos.

Beyond though is something different. To put it shortly, it's the perfect bridge between the two phases. It surely has benefited from more mature song writing and musicianship that the years carry, but the general sound and feel of the album is somewhere in between Bug and Green Mind. Needless to say, a true Dinosaur Jr fan could not have asked for anything better.

Songs like Almost Ready, Been There All The Time, This Is All I Came To Do offer J at his soloing best while their sheer "catchiness" assures them that radio-friendly potential, but they never give the listener that sense of banality that mainstream radio tends to offer nowadays. I think the difference between the two is a little thing called talent. The tracks that Lou sings, Back To Your Heart and Lightning Bulb, are in true Lou style and give the album that before-after balance I spoke of earlier.

Good production, nice DJ-style lyrics, guitar work is incredible as always, bass is solid as hell and more than just a backdrop to J's playing and Murph's drumming is right on. After listening to the entire album, I felt complete, satisfied and somewhat excited. Like running into an old friend after a long time and finding out he's doing well and lives close by.

All and all, I wouldn't be surprised to see them win a Grammy. I wouldn't miss J's acceptance speech for anything in the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best rock album of the year by far! Dinosaur is back!, May 5, 2007
By 
Joephus (Saginaw, MI USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beyond (Audio CD)
Wow, I honestly expected this to sound like another decent release from J Mascis and his usual revolving door of musicians, but I was so wrong. I knew that the original lineup of J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph had reunited, but I had no idea that it would sound this good. "Beyond" easily shows how polished and experienced a songwriter J Mascis has become, but it also shows the amazing musicianship of Lou Barlow and Murph. I highly doubt that this album would be as good as it is without them, they obviously have an amazing chemistry when they play together. I have been obsessed with "You're Living All Over Me" for the last couple years, (I still consider it to be the best rock album I have ever heard), but this comes in at a close second. It honestly sounds like that lost record that you always hoped Dinosaur Jr. made after "Bug". Everything about "Beyond" reminds me of late eighties Dino, even the strange cover art. It has the amazingly hard yet melodic riffs, inspired guitar solos from J Mascis, and a great rhythm section that sets the pace and hits hard and fast at all the right times. You get your over the top wailing guitar Dino, your melodic rocking Dino, your gorgeous pop Dino, and even your new string accented Dino, "I Got Lost". While the whole album manages to sound like something from another era, it also sounds new and refreshing at the same time, a true evolution of the original Dinosaur Jr. formula. It honestly rocks harder than anything I have heard this year, and all this coming from a band that decided to have a small reunion tour and jam for old times sake. The album is a knockout from start to finish, all eleven tracks are stunning and keep your jaw on the floor until the last note... then all you can say is "Wow! I had no idea they could put out a record that good after all this time!"

Thanks Dinosaur Jr., you have truly restored my faith in guitar based rock in the new millennium... it sure was looking bleak for awhile.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Firing on all cylinders, May 3, 2007
By 
MT (Huntington Beach, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beyond (Audio CD)
I suppose I'm preaching to the choir. This release absolutely blows everything out of the water that I've heard in a long, long time for a pure blistering rock'n'roll sonic assault.

If you like big, fuzzy guitars with a truly gifted guitarists and rhythm section that meshes beautifully and doesn't back down from the monster riffs, you'll love this CD. The band truly fires on all cylinders. I am reminded a bit of The Who in concert in that there is so much going on, so often.

Signature tracks...

Been There All The Time (gotta love the solos and the active drums)

This Is All I Came To Do (amazing intro)

I don't there's another band who could have made this record.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where You Been?, May 20, 2007
This review is from: Beyond (Audio CD)
Well, it really doesn't matter does it? I'm just glad Barlow and Mascis got back together. Really, I think Beyond is better than what J had been putting out with The Fog and is a high water mark that will increase Dinosaur's reputation and legend. I heard the first two songs and was instantly amazed. Indeed, "Almost Ready" and "Grumble" are as good as anything the band's ever put out. I've enjoyed the entire CD and expect to like it even more than I do now in the weeks to come. Complexity and richness are the unique attributes of these impeccable musicians. There is tantalizing texture to the music that makes the rest of what is out there today look like the shallow dreck it is. I'll be savoring this one for awhile.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guitarmageddon, July 24, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Beyond (Audio CD)
I stumbled onto Dinosaur Jr. after downloading "Pick Me Up" on Rock Band 2. It might seem a really cheap and bandwagon-y way to find such an amazing band, but that's just the way it is. After playing the solo (about a hundred times, give or take), I mean...it's incredible. J. Mascis is unbelievable. And that's no exaggeration. I would tell you to just listen to the solo (an incredible 3 minutes, give or take a few seconds), but 10 out of the 11 songs on this album have at LEAST 1 solo. Yeah, I counted, that's how many times I've listened to this album. Over an 11-song span, there are 20 guitar solos. And these aren't cheap, 16-bar solos. We're talking heavy shredding. A couple songs even manage 3 solos apiece. It really is jaw-dropping, the ways some of these songs launch into guitar goodness. To say nothing of the other instruments, the vocals or the lyrics, the album is worth owning just because of how amazing the guitar work is here. If the solos on "Pick Me Up" or "We're Not Alone" were physical places, I would want to live there.

I was too young to know Dinosaur Jr. when they garnered their moderate fame back in the late 80's and early 90's, bug I have gone back, bought and listened to BUG and YOU'RE LIVING ALL OVER ME. And while if you really pay attention you can hear the roots of who and why the band is where they are now, BEYOND is still my favorite Dino Jr. album. Maybe because right now I'm on a binge of listening primarily to bands who have songs with awesome guitar solos, but the songs are actually fairly catchy for the most part. The only two I could really do without are the two slowest on the album, "Back to your Heart" and "I Got Lost." Even though the former has two solos in it, when I listen to it in the context of the whole album, it feels like they slammed on the brakes after the solo in "Pick Me Up." And on "I Got Lost," the fact that it is the only song on the album sans guitar solo(s), it is a slow song, which isn't bad, but just came off to me as out of place on an otherwise guitar-insanity work.

Still, those two songs, which aren't bad at all, aren't enough to lower this album to 4 stars. If you are a fan of rock, guitar solos, or music in general you need this album. So buy it. Right now. And while you are waiting for it to arrive buy the digital version and listen to it.

Rock really doesn't get much better than this. Hearing the absolutely stunning solos in "Pick Me Up" and "We're Not Alone" reminded me of the first time I heard Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb," and how an instrument without vocals can convey just as powerfully the feeling of a song.
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Beyond
Beyond by Dinosaur Jr. (Audio CD - 2007)
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