Beastie Boys Series (Updated) – The Sounds Of Science Anthology
I was fortunate to find a gorgeous, as-good-as-new used copy of this 2CD, 1999 anthology. Why I’m just getting a copy of this thing of beauty now (it was released 15 years ago) is beyond me. Have a look at the whole thing right here.
All of the album versions are great, most of the songs you might want are here. I’m sure some would say this or that track should have been included/excluded, but by and large this is a solid representation of the hits and the styles of this superlative group.
Now, you might be thinking that, if I already own all the albums, adding this Hits set to the collection would seem like a bit of overkill. Well, by and large that might be true, except the Beasties always made sure there was value for the money. This set has a whole bunch of tracks that are hard to get, otherwise.
Ch—Check It Out:
On CD 1, there are 21 songs. 8 of these are b-sides, one-offs or previously unreleased:
Skills To Pay The Bills (So What’Cha Want single). Just a great Beasties groove, those megaphone vocals.
Body Movin’ [Fatboy Slim Remix] (Body Movin’ single). You hear this and think, damn, that was Fatboy Slim. He took a Beasties tune and somehow made it sound like him. It shouldn’t be possible, but here it is.
Boomin’ Granny (Jimmy James single). Is a slow, wonky track. Not their greatest work, sounds like a demo. But hey, who gives a shit? It’s Beasties!
Country Mike’s Theme (Country Mike’s Greatest Hits). A half-minute country goof.
Soba Violence (Aglio E Olio, Japanese). A super-fun freak-out hardcore track. Woohoo!
Alive (previously unreleased). Released as the first single for this compilation, it sounds like it could’ve been quite at home on Hello Nasty. This is a fun Beasties rap tune, too bad it had be left off the album. Ah well, it’s here!
Jimmy James [Original Version] (Jimmy James single). On this one, Yauch laid down the scratches, Mike D. and Adrock did the lyrics. Interestingly, this original version contained Hendrix samples, but the estate wouldn’t allow most of them (a couple were ok, apparently), so they re-recorded it with samples that sounded like Hendrix and that’s what you hear on Check Your Head. So… how were they then allowed to release the one with the Hendrix samples in 1999 but not back in 1992? Your guess is as good as mine.
Three MCs And One DJ [Live Video Version] (Hello Nasty). A faster run-through than the album version, and leaner, too. Interesting trivia: This song marked the first time Mix Master Mike worked with the Beasties (hence, presumably, the phone message on the album version).
On CD2, there are 22 tracks. 7 of those are non-album tracks.
Dub The Mic (Pass The Mic single). A sweet, slowed-down and highly interesting, mostly-instrumental version of Pass The Mic. Very cool.
Benny And The Jets (previously unreleased). Sung by (frequent collaborator) Biz Markie, this is an hilarious skewering of Elton John’s classic tune. There’s live crowd noise, but that’s surely faked.
She’s On It (Krush Groove soundtrack). Nice they included this, because I don’t know that I’d run out and get that soundtrack just for this one track. It’s a rock/rapper pretty much just using Fight For Your Right as a template.
*Son Of Neckbone is listed here as from the Sure Shot single, but it also appears on The In Sound From Way Out.
Twenty Questions (previously unreleased). An odd little salsa/samba-style tune that very much reminded me of The Girl From Ipanema. Features Miho Hatori on vocals. Savvy Beasties listeners will remember her efforts on the Hello Nasty track I Don’t Know.
Railroad Blues (Country Mike’s Greatest Hits). Another country goof, this time a full four minute song. It’s amusing, but not built for multiple listens.
Live Wire (previously unreleased). An interesting exploration. Distorted, odd. What the hell, it’s just weird enough to be cool.
Netty’s Girl (Pass The Mic single). Oh goodness. A pretty funny, drunk wedding singer-style goof track, sung in falsetto (when he’s not rambling). A one-off listen.
NB: The Japanese release of this anthology also got an extra track, Big Shot (Live), which appeared on the Alive single (which was released as a single for this anthology – see Alive, above). And yes, Big Shot is a cover of Billy Joel. Of course.
42 tracks, 15 of which can’t be had on the standard issue CDs. Total value in this set, folks. BEASTIES RULE!
* I count The In Sound From Way Out as an album, so this track is not included in my final count of non-album tracks.