Dinosaur Jr.

Just Like Heaven

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What at the time must have seemed like a cockeyed gob back at the '80s American indie crowd's favorite whipping boys -- aka anyone from England who used makeup and synths -- now reads much more like an amusing, entertaining salute from one band to another. "Just Like Heaven" itself is the legendary Cure hit that fully broke them in America; in Dinosaur Jr.'s hands, the synth line is replaced by a J Mascis overdub and the chorus gets gang-shout vocals and death metal riffs, but the song itself survives the transplant perfectly. Mascis' usual vocal style is as idiosyncratic and appropriate as Robert Smith's, and the wistful, nutty vibe of the piece gets even more so at the full band's hands, right down to the sudden, cut-off ending. The other tracks, the brief acoustic/electric zone stomp of "Throw Down" and the surf thrash scream of "Chunks," are fine enough, but it's the lead track that has remained deservedly famous. Smith himself obviously loved it -- he got the band to open a Cure show in Los Angeles in 1992, where they played said cover to a somewhat bemused audience.

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