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Music / Dinosaur Jr.

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Dinosaur Jr. is an Alternative Rock band from Amherst, Massachusetts that started in 1984, with the following members:

  • J Mascis, guitars, lead vocals, drums, various other instruments
  • Lou Barlow, bass and backing vocals
  • Murphnote , drummer.

They've experienced some lineup instability — Barlow was kicked out in 1989 and Murph in 1991, reducing the band to "J Mascis + other dudes". Mascis eventually retired the name in 1997, but the original lineup reunited in 2005 and has recorded five new albums since then. Barlow went on to feature in Sebadoh and Folk Implosion.

Influenced by Hardcore Punk, Metal, Classic Rock and Alt Rock, they tend to veer all over the musical spectrum.


  • Dinosaur (1985)
  • You're Living All Over Me (1987)
  • Bug (1988)
  • Green Mind (1991)
  • Where You Been (1993)
  • Without a Sound (1994)
  • Hand It Over (1997)
  • Beyond (2007)
  • Farm (2009)
  • I Bet on Sky (2012)
  • Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (2016)
  • Sweep It Into Space (2021)

This band provides examples of:

  • Air Guitar: One of the leading causes amongst indie rock fans.
  • Author Appeal: Multiple post-reunion music videos involve skateboarding because it's one of J. Mascis' interests. Upon learning that J Mascis liked skateboarding and owned a bulldog, the director of the "Tiny" music video pitched a concept involving skateboarders, J's bulldog, and J's bulldog on a skateboard.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game: In the video for "Feel the Pain".
  • Careful with That Axe: "Don't" (see below), "Little Fury Things".
  • Control Freak: Mascis in The '80s, to the point that he forced Murph to play the drum parts he created himself and limited Barlow's contributions (You're Living All Over Me had only two of his songs, which got to reduced to one song with vocals on Bug).
    • Though it seems like this is at least partially due to Barlow's perception of Mascis; later interviews show Mascis had the unspoken expectation that Barlow would contribute more, whereas Barlow felt that Mascis was the band and channeled all of his songwriting into Sebadoh.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: The video for "Watch the Corners" features a deadbeat supermarket clerk.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Mascis and Barlow were in the Hardcore band Deep Wound prior to Dinosaur Jr. Interestingly, they were not playing the same instruments they'd play in Dinosaur Jr; Barlow played lead guitar and Mascis played drums.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "The Lung".
  • Epic Rocking: "Plans", "Said the People", "I Don't Wanna Go There" and "Alone". Basically, the album Farm. Although "Alone" is actually on Hand It Over.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: On "Don't". Kind of.
    • Also, "We're Not Alone."
  • Greatest Hits Album: Ear Bleeding Country: The Best of Dinosaur Jr covers the debut album through Hand It Over, and also includes two songs that were originally credited as J Mascis solo works.
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Murph, post-reunion.
  • I Am the Band: On Mascis' part, which basically caused the breakup of the original group.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Between the loudness of the music and J Mascis's lazy enunciation, it can be kind of hard to make out the lyrics.
  • Inherited Illiteracy Title: "Raisans".
  • Jerkass: J Mascis pre-reunion. He's stated to have largely mellowed out now though.
  • Limited Lyrics Song: "Don't", which consists entirely of Lou Barlow screaming "WHY? WHY DON'T YOU LIKE ME?!" at the top of his lungs.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: "The Post"
    She's my post to lean on, And I just cut her down.
  • Long Runner Lineup: The band's original and classic lineup of J. Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph has lasted longer in its reunion iteration (2005-present, qualifying them for this trope) than it did originally (1984-1989, ending when Barlow was fired).
  • Longest Song Goes Last:
    • You're Living All Over Me closes with "Poledo" (5:43).
    • Bug closes with "Don't" (5:41).
    • I Bet on Sky closes with "See It on Your Side" (6:40).
  • Loud of War: Their standard practice in live shows.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: A trademark of J Mascis. The band is well known for singing slacker lyrics while rocking faces off.
  • Metal Scream: Lou Barlow is surprisingly good at this. See "Just Like Heaven" and "Don't" (as previously noted, he coughed blood after they recorded it).
  • New Sound Album: To some extent, the albums after 1989, when Lou Barlow got fired.
  • No Ending: The band's cover of "Just Like Heaven" simply stops before the song gets to the final chorus.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Lightning Bulb", "Start Choppin'", and "Raisans".
    • Actually, most of You're Living All Over Me has this. Only "The Lung" and "In a Jar" avoid this trope.
  • Obsession Song: "Don't", whose only lyrics are "Why don't you like me?" shouted over and over.
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: J Mascis always sounds like he's on the verge of falling asleep.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Freak Scene":
    Don't let me fuck up will you, cos when I need a friend it's still you.
  • Pun-Based Title: Since it's one of three songs on You're Living All Over Me where Lou Barlow takes a lead vocal, "Lose" most likely is a pun on "Lou's".
  • Rock Trio: The band has had this setup throughout its entire existence.
  • Self-Titled Album: Dinosaur, before they were forced to change their name.
  • Start My Own: After Barlow was fired from the band, he formed the influential indie rock band Sebadoh.
  • Spoken Word in Music: "Raisans" has a strange bridge where the music gets softer and a lo-fi sample of unintelligible moaning comes in — the only part that can be made out clearly is "You're killin' me. You're killin' me. You're killin' me". Supposedly Lou Barlow was working in a mental hospital at the time, and had surreptitiously recorded one of the patients.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Pond Song" is a jangly R.E.M. style track.
    • "Poledo" would be this were it not for several creepy, abrupt sound-collage sections: Aside from that, it's a quiet, acoustic-based song with Lou Barlow on lead vocals. It sounds a lot like Lou Barlow's solo acoustic project Sentridoh — and since Barlow performed it all himself, it effectively is a Sentridoh song that ended up on a Dinosaur Jr. album.
    • "Flying Cloud", a ballad featuring absolutely no guitar distortion, which is a rarity for the band.
  • Trope Codifier: Maybe the single most direct influence on 90s Indie Rock.
  • Unplugged Version: Though credited to J Mascis, Martin + Me could count as an unplugged album for the band — it's a mix of Dinosaur Jr songs and Cover Versions played live by J alone, backing himself with an acoustic guitar note .
  • Vocal Tag Team: The first album was this between J and Lou.
    • To a much lesser extent, You're Living All Over Me. Lou sings on three songs, and J sings on seven.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: They were originally called Dinosaur, but got sued by a supergroup called The Dinosaurs and added a "Jr." to the title. Thus, Dinosaur was originally a Self-Titled Album, but they kept the title the same despite changing the band name.
  • Younger Than They Look: J Mascis. His hair started greying around age 40 and was completely white by the time he hit 50.