J Mascis and the Fog
Free So Free



by AlienEater USER (9 Reviews)
May 12th, 2006 | 7 replies | 4,187 views

Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Many album covers are visual representations of the album itself. For Free So Free the opposite is true. The cover depicts a genderless freak standing on a car, while it is driving at top speed. While the cover seems to have been drawn by a retarded 5 year old, Free So Free seems to have been made by a mature, emotionally charged middle aged man.

J Mascis, although originating as a drummer in Hardcore Punk band Deep Wound, took up guitar duties in Dinosaur Jr. With the departure of bassist Lou Barlow in 1989 that Dinosaur’s style of music would change drastically. When Lou left, their crossover of feedback drenched noise and melody gave way for a less fuzzy, less noisy, but more mature sound. Free So Free resembles one of the later Dinosaur albums.

Free So Free explores the theme of liberation, or freedom. His obsession with freedom supposedly stems from his love of skydiving. Or maybe he was in prison. Who knows? “Freedom", “Set Us Free", and “Free So Free" all show his fixation off in their title, while practically every other track has some lyrical reference. Throughout “Someone Said" Mascis repeats the lyrics “Someone said my freedom’s gone" over and over again, and at the beginning of “If That’s How It’s Gotta Be" he repeats the word “freedom". Mascis also conveys many emotions through this record, particularly pain, and a feeling frustration. On “Free So Free", he croons “And I wanna believe/ The need is painful." On “Everybody Lets Me Down" he sings exactly that--“Everybody lets me down." He doesn’t express these emotions as expertly as he did on the Dinosaur album Feel The Pain, but it still brings out his emotionally tortured side in a provocative manner.

Free So Free delivers 10 mainly mid-tempo alt-rock songs that are exactly what Dinosaur fans wanted. The songs on Free So Free are still simplistic, yet clever and catchy. “Say The Word" showcases his ability to write songs with all these three qualities. “Freedom" opens the album with a simplistic drum beat, and two straightforward guitar riffs that intertwine brilliantly to create one of the best tracks on this record. “Tell The Truth" and “Bobbin" are pleasant, catchy little tracks that can only entertain.

Almost the only thing that was retained from the early Dinosaur is the accomplished guitar work. The guitar is, and always will be (I hope), the focal point of almost every J Mascis album, and it’s no different here. The drums and bass sit in the back seat while the guitars drive this record, whether it be the acoustic riff on “If That’s how it’s Gotta Be" or the wah-wah drenched solo on “Say The Word" (and many other tracks for that matter.) “Free So Free" conveys a hazy, dream like quality from its acoustic and electric solos. However, guitar bass and drums are not the only instruments used on Free So Free. On the slowest track on this record, “Someone Said" flutes are used to produce an emotional height that could not be achieved without them. On the punky, upbeat “Everybody Lets Me Down" Mascis plays a simple piano riff that fits in perfectly with the mood of the song.

Free So Free is a reminder of how far J Mascis has come since ridiculous Hardcore of Dead Wound, and how almost two decades after Dinosaur Jr’s first release he still can write great songs that convey his emotions brilliantly. While Mascis will never reach the heights he reached on Dinosaur Jr’s You’re Living All Over Me or the equally good Bug, Free So Free is a great release that will please most long time Dino fans.

Standout Tracks:
Say The Word
Everybody Lets Me Down
Free So Free

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user ratings (8)

Comments:Add a Comment 
The Jungler
May 12th 2006


Good review, I'm a huge DJ fan, but I've never listened to much J. Masicis solo stuff. Is this where to start?

May 12th 2006


Great review. I've never heard of this but the review and the album recommendations have me intruiged since I love both Dinosaur Jr and Yo La Tengo.

May 13th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

VagueDan, I'm not entirely sure where to start. I do not own More Light, but I have red that it is meant to be more upbeat and happier.
I do own a Mascis BBC sessions. The first half is great, Mike Watt plays bass. The second half is quite strange, it is solo electric guitar.This Message Edited On 05.13.06

June 26th 2006


This is a pretty chilled album to listen to, that solo in Free So Free is to die for.

Cool review.

August 29th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

This is still a thoroughly enjoyable album.

August 24th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

I need this album but I cant find a copy anywhere...

November 6th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Great album...

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