Why is Dinosaur Jr.’s Without A Sound on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Quintessential mid-1990s alternative rock.
Some stats & info about Dinosaur Jr. – Without A Sound
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock, Alternative Rock, Indie Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Without A Sound released? 1994
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #956 out of 1,000
Dinosaur Jr.’s Without A Sound on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.
What does Dinosaur Jr.’s Without A Sound mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
Dinosaur Jr. is high on the list of bands that I kind of “missed out” on during the 1990s and kind of regret it. To be fair, this was pre-Internet, pre-social media. Staying “on top of” music going on generally took a lot more effort – and even required a degree of luck – that simply doesn’t exist today. Most of what that means today is to the better – a galaxy, a galactic enormity of music is available almost at the instant that you can think of it.
For an oddball and (to me) hilarious example, I just performed a thought exercise where I commanded myself to find literally the first song to pop into my head. And, of all the songs in recorded history, the song that I thought of was the Cherry Coke jingle, performed by the one and only artist known as Cameo (and based on his hit song, “Word Up”), back in 1987. And indeed, that indelible song and video appeared before me thanks to the genius robots and robot geniuses at YouTube just about as fast as my fingers could type the search query.
But I digress – back to Dinosaur Jr. and regrets. Some tremendous bands used to play on campus at my college – Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York, and the crazy thing looking back is that the shows were free.
There are two shows that I deeply regret attending, and Dinosaur, Jr. is at the top of the list. In fact, I sort of heard them play because I was standing outside the doors of the student union auditorium where they were playing, and I just kept walking by (why? Because I’m an idiot, that’s why!). If you’re wondering, Fugazi is the other one (see: same reason above).
All of that being said, when I listen to “Feel the Pain” now, it sounds like a quintessential song of both the mid-1990s and of alternative rock as a whole. That’s to say it’s a terrific song.
I must add though that the music video does not really match the level of the song. It’s a cute-ish video of the ironic 1990s bent with and has its funny and surreal moments, but the song is much stronger on its own.
The guitar tone and hook on “I Don’t Think So” are right in the wheelhouse of rock songs that get my absolute attention. The vocals are slightly weird and off – especially on the chorus – and yet it all kind of works well as a whole.
And… I don’t even know where to start with the video on this one.
The entire album is consistently good, and songs like “Yeah, Right” have guitar chops that feel canonically ‘90s to me. Also has a Counting Crows vibe if I’m not crazy (which is entirely possible, particularly after watching that “I Don’t Think So” video).
This album also sounds like
You can hear a variety of ‘80s and ‘90s guitar driven rock and alt rock influences here that comprise the very “1990s alt rock sound” that I talk about above, including Frank Black/Pixies, Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Screaming Trees, Mudhoney, Throwing Muses, and The Lemonheads.