If I were to describe Dinosaur Jr.’s album You’re Living All Over Me anecdotally, it would sound like this:
Once upon a time, a fair-haired 10-year-old me, with long locks of hair that could rival that of any princess, was out skating. At some point I was stuck at a light, and stood just off the corner of the street holding my deck, thinking about whatever 10-year-old me thought. Probably, “You’re living all over me, world.” As I stood waiting, a van going way too fast hit me. Luckily, it was only the mirror, which slammed shut as it slapped against my shoulder. I was fine. The driver stopped, ran over, and asked, “Are you okay, little girl?” I stood, silent and disinterested. He waited for another second and asked again, “Are you hurt?” I continued to stare right through him, without responding, staring instead at the Carvel ice cream store that sat behind him. Then he started in with, “You shouldn’t be standing in the street, blah, blah….” I gave him one last uninterested look, a look that surely any well-bred princess would have given in my present situation, and skated off.
As I was saying, Dinosaur Jr. are the musical representation of a daydreaming slacker. The guitar riffs alone will make you feel like you’re riding a waffle to the moon. But seriously, if you’re going to spend most of the day staring at the sun, you may as well do it with Dinosaur Jr. ringing in your ears. It’s hard to believe that they were doing it as far back as the ’80s, but they were, which makes them one of the first in the genre. Regardless of their founding father status, we’re here to talk about You’re Living All Over Me.
You’re Living All Over Me opens with the screeching beauty of “Little Fury Things,” a song that almost feels like you’re taking a ride on a three minute wave, thanks to the guitar stylings of J Mascis. At this point you’re like, “If I lived near clean, swimmable water, I’d be a surfer. But I don’t. I live in NYC. Whatever, I can still skate.” J Mascis’s melancholy vocals will make you stop caring, because he clearly already has.
“The Lung” is not just my favorite song on the album but also my favorite Dinosaur Jr. in their entire discography. It might even be one of my favorite songs ever made. It was also, you should note, the first Dinosaur Jr. song I ever heard. How did I hear it? Well, in the ’90s the skate company Alien Workshop put out skate videos with some of the trippiest video art you’ve ever seen. In the legendary “Memory Screen,” a young Rob Dyrdek (Rob & Big) skates to “The Lung.” It’s still one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.
(Fast forward to the 4:30 mark)
“In the jar” sums up life with one line: “I just want to find out / What you’re nice to me for.” That’s about as succinct as you can get. Especially when your album is a daydream of ennui and slacker blasé. “In the Jar” feels like you’re cruising down a sun-soaked road, with your head out the car window, responsibilities in the rear, wondering what happened the night before.
Dinosaur Jr. finishes us off by slaying one of the best angst-filled songs ever made in their cover of the Cure’s classic “Just Like Heaven.” Which is a most fitting way to end an album of listless exuberance. Simply put, You’re Living All Over Me is a classic, an album that is sure to be rediscovered, over and over again — as long as there are people listening to music and we still have records, tapes, CDs or MP3s.
Article by Timothy White. Follow him on Twitter @TipToTheHip.