Beastie Boys: The Series – Check Your Head (1992)
I loved Licensed To Ill. I loved Paul’s Boutique. And I LOVE Check Your Head.
This record… oh man, this record is a bomb going off. A funky bomb. In your head.
Of course, there’s all the requisite yada yada right here.
And HOLY CRAP somebody went to A LOT of work for this list of samples.
Jimmy James is damn funky, a superb intro track. I love that groove!
Funky Boss is a short, sharp shock of even deeper funk, and boy I guess they don’t like their bald-ass boss! Haha.
Pass The Mic is a cute idea, and a great song, but I also tire of it quickly. We know who they are. I get why they did it, but… Oh, and I also love it when he “rhymes ‘commercial’ with ‘commercial.’ Smokin’! Cool music, though.
Gratitude is one we all know well. That riff makes me instantly sit up and listen. This is a hit song, a mix tape track for me. Probably my favourite spot is “what’s gonna set you free, look inside and you’ll see!” That few seconds totally sounds like 1992 ROLLINS.
Lighten Up’s tribal rhythms and jazzy feel make it an odd track – and pure Beasties, of course. And what is that noise, a didjeridoo? The guitar is pure funk, though, and when the full band/sound kicks in, things improve.
Finger Lickin’ Good is closer to the old school again. I love when they rhyme “ain’t havin’ it” with “build you a cabinet.” Haha. The addition of (what sounds like) Eastern meditation music/sounds at 2:10 is fun. Wonder what they paid to have a snippet of Bob Dylan in the track?
So What’cha Want is a classic hit, what a stomper! Bet you’ll bang your head along with this one. “Yeah! You can’t front on that!”
The Biz vs The Nuge is next, I love this terribly-sung, half-minute thing.
Time For Livin’ kicks right in, and very quickly, the punk roots take over. A fun, loud rockin’ fist-pumper. Go go go!
Something’s Got To Give is a smooth, slow jam that sounds like they were just messing around in the studio and hit on it. And that’s not a jab or a complaint, I really like this track.
The Blue Nun cracks me up every time. “Mmm, it does go well with the chicken!”
Stand Together is a big track, great beat with cool riffs and effects on the vocals. I love the skronky saxophone in the intro.
Pow is a funky rocker that point ups up just how great these guys can be when they play their own instruments. It slows in the middle until the end, and that’s cool too.
The Maestro starts off with a phone message – remember when bands used to do that and think it was cool? This track is a total jam with those same bullhorn-effect vocals. Pure Beasties. Of course.
Groove Holmes is a sweet, Hammond organ-led instrumental jam of pure funk.
Live At P.J.’s! is a great 70s funk party track. Have I told you lately how much I love this record?
Mark On The Bus is a silly goof track and, short as it is it’s still a cool groove.
Professor Booty’s intro always cracks me up (the movie quote is The Wild Style, according to the internets, the pirate line… the track itself is pure Beasties insouciance and style.
In 3’s is YET ANOTHER great funk instrumental jam track. Oh man can this band ever miss?
Namasté is a late night wacky-tobacky session, and a perfect album closer.
In sum: OhmygodIlovethisrecord and ifyoudon’townthisyou’regrossbuckets and youneedtogobuyitRIGHTNOW! Pure classic. All of it.
NB: I even saw a re-release of it yesterday, sitting right there at the front of a rack in a shop. It has a whole extra disc of tracks! I want that! The timing of that was, of course, perfect. Like I said when I saw that parent at school with the Beasties t-shirt, it’s fairly apparent that the Universe really does want me listening to these guys right now. I’m happy to oblige.
Go get you some.