It wasn’t until recently — Dinosaur Jr’s 2009 album, Farm, specifically — that I could even begin to understand J Mascis. Before that, he was just a grayhaired guitar god, a guru of geekery on the covers of Guitar World and other magazines I don’t care about reading.
But Several Shades of Why, Mascis’s first solo record, should not be ignored or overlooked. It’s a quiet soul search — a bare record showcasing a broken, tired Mascis and an acoustic guitar. Mascis opens his heart here to show his frustration and sadness, his fear of moving on. He’s teeming with regret. On “Make It Right,” he says he can’t keep going on alone. And on “Too Deep,” he admits nothing gets easier with age. Though there’s always a little bit of hurt behind Mascis’ words, on Several Shades of Why he exposes his scars. I never would have thought J Mascis would be the one to show how beautiful sadness can be.
DOWNLOAD: “Not Enough”