The Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven’ covered by Dinosaur Jr
Dinosaur Jr cover The Cure. It’s J. Mascis, legendarily bone-idle grunge idol taking on a classic love song from anemone-haired, godfather of goth Robert Smith. Two true, indie-rock big guns here.
The Cure were the first band I ever saw live. I was 14 and I had to wear a Joe Bloggs t-shirt because it was the only black garment I owned. Obviously, I blended right in.
Dinosaur Jr increased the pace, beefed up the rhythm section, got rid of the synthesiser and grunged it all up. There’s only two years (’87 and ’89) between these two versions but those years make a huge difference. The drums, synthesiser and general jangle all place The Cure’s original firmly in the 80s (which is no bad thing), while the while the fuzzed-up bass, drawled vocals and overdriven guitars place Dinosaur’s version firmly in the grunge canon, making it seem more like a 90s track (also fine, obviously).
The Cure had some truly fantastic songs before it all started going wrong with Friday I’m In Love. Just Like Heaven isn’t one of Bob’s best, but it’s a nice enough example of one of his bittersweet love songs. Dinosaur Jr’s punked-up version adds power and irony to the pop melodies – as well as a blast of Mascis’s trademark guitar heroics – elevating the cover past the original, for Noisecrumbs.
The video for the cover version is great too – they enlisted puppets to provide the visual energy that J., Lou and Murph resolutely refused to deliver. Gotta love those lazy-arse Generation X-ers!