Another find on my trip to Toronto with Mike this year, I think I paid $2 for this. Or was it $3? No matter, it was a steal.
The first two tracks are the album versions of Sabotage and Get It Together. Surely I don’t need to tell you a damn thing about this slices of awesome, right? Right!
Resolution Time is bottom-heavy, with that trademark Beasties bullhorn vocals sound and some chiming church bells. Lock into a thing that works and just go! I can dig it! Sounds like it could’ve come from Check Your Head.
Get It Together, the Buck Wild Remix is next. It turns the tune into a jazzy trip-hoppy track while maintaining the bottom end. This is smoother than the album track.
Dope Little Song is old school B-Boys sound YEAH! I loved this!
And lastly it’s one more jam of Get It Together, the A.B.A. Remix, which comes packed with a completely different bass line. I’m not as much of a fan of this as the others, but it’s still cool.
One more thing in the long list of things to love about the Beastie Boys is their ability to not only offer up a single for a great song that deserved attention, but to drop other versions that really give different looks at the tune. This isn’t just some DJ Numbnuts adding one instrument they thought should be there and essentially not changing anything else, these are the same song but quite different feels of it!
Great single, cool price. Love me some Beasties.
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.
Well here we are, the end of the Beasties output, as much of it as I currently own, anyway. First let me say I’m sad to see it go – I’ve loved listening to all of this Beastie goodness!
What did I learn from this series? Only the obvious – this group rules.
The series went pretty much as I expected. I have loved all of their records, in their own ways, many of them for a long time, now. Comments on the posts went pretty much as expected, with more love given to the first four records than any others, then Hello Nasty meeting some resistance, then the more recent records with fewer things to say because not as many people bought that stuff (It’s OK. I DID!). I would recommend to anyone still on the fence about the last three records to just go get them. They’re growers. And now there will only be so much Beasties out there, so you may as well have all the goodness!
One Thing I Did Find Weird: There’s no live album. Yes, there’s the Root Down EP, which has a few songs, and some of the singles probably had a track here or there. The DVD of the MSG show, but there’s been no official live album. For a band that was a superlative (by all reports) live act, this boggles me that the label (and the band) didn’t capitalize on this aspect more. Especially around the height, 1994 or so after Ill Communication came out. You’d think, eh? Well, maybe they held all that stuff back as a retirement fund, to be released in future? Here’s hoping!
Still To Get: I don’t have a complete collection here. I still need the Sounds Of Science Anthology, which has some tracks not easily available anywhere else, and the Beastie Boys Video Anthology, as well. I might skip the Solid Gold Hits collection, since I could make that CD myself anytime. If I saw it super-cheap I might go for it, just to have it. And, if I ever come across any of the other EPs or singles in my travels, I’ll snag those, too.
Now. I can’t leave this off without commenting briefly on the untimely passing of Adam “MCA” Yauch on May 4, 2012, of salivary gland cancer. For the group, this loss is incalculable. For the fans, the same. Too soon. Waaaay too soon. RIP, Adam.
In sum: Like I said above, I’m a fan. Have been for a long time, always will be. These guys did it their way and, more often than not, their way was so crazy good. Truly a one of a kind act. I love ‘em.
Thanks to everyone for chiming in on all of this Beastie beauty. We always appreciate comments, here on the KMA, and your participation brought new insight to the series! My thanks, also, to the voters in the poll for choosing this spectacular group.
Keep on makin’ with the freak-freak, folks!
* For the record (pun intended), this is KMA post #950.
The latest Beastie album. I have to assume it’s their last, I can’t see them going forward without MCA… Anyway, there’ll probably be some releases of unheard stuff, etc. At least, I hope so! Check it out…
So this was supposed to drop under the title Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 1 but then MCA was diagnosed with cancer. So (understandably) the whole thing went onto a shelf for two years. It was supposed to be a 2-part set, and they only released this one, which was Pt. 1, as Pt. 2. Get the whole story HERE.
And is it any good?
Psh, if you have to ask at this point, you need to go back to the beginning of the series and read all my reviews again. OF COURSE IT’S GOOD!
Make Some Noise was a single, and it’s a great lead-off B-Boys track. It’s that thing they do so well. Very funky.
Non-Stop Disco Powerpack is a sweet jam, simpler musically than Make Some Noise, but still so slick. I could listen to them do this sort of thing all day… Wait. I do. Nevermind.
OK has a slinky intro but becomes a heavier bass romp soon enough. Add fuzz guitars and a decent pace. YES.
Too Many Rappers (New Revolutionaries Version), a single, features NAS, and funk-blasts its way through concern about the dilution of rap. A cool track.
Say It is next. Say It? OK I will, this is another great fuckin’ B-Boys jam. Laid-back and great.
The Bill Harper Collection is a short little timpani/orchestra advertisement/introduction (with explosions). I have no idea who Bill Harper is.
Don’t Play No Game I Can’t Win, also a single, is a great reggae-tinged track. It features Santigold . Actually, it’s more her than the B-Boys, but whatever. I really liked the track.
Long Burn The Fire is a slow burner (get it), lots of MCA on it. Damn he sounded rough by this point. Still, this is an excellent groove track.
Funky Donkey is a throwback, totally a fun dance track. It blends into The Larry Routine, 31 seconds of typical weirdness from the guys.
Tadlock’s Glasses plods along with lots of electronic effects and messing with the vocals. This one was a little harder to imagine wanting to hear on its own too many times, but it sits fine in the mix.
Lee Majors Come Again was a single, and (finally) it’s a blast of the old hardcore rock. It has a weird little freak-out bit in the middle. This track is awesome. TURN IT UP!
Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament is another slow groove, and an instrumental! It’s like they were listening to us when we were talking about the last record having neither. Hooray! I don’t know what this track has to do with getting rid of nukes.
Here’s A Little Something For You has lots of cowbells and is yet another sweet Beasties rap track. “…and if you’re feeling chilly, I’m-a get you a shawl…” The type of tune you just have to nod your head along with the beat.
Crazy Ass Shit starts out with a kid repeating a line, then the Boys kick in and away they go. This one maybe shouldn’t have been bried so deep in the record. Or maybe you’ll think of it as buried treasure.
The Lisa Lisa/Full Force Routine rounds out the record. Not even a minute long, it’s a blast of rap that could be considered an afterthought except this is the Beasties and they usually did what they wanted so it must’ve made sense to them.
In Sum: I really, really liked this record. It shows how restless and inventive they always were, all the samples and the playfullness and the creativity and oddity that goes into one of their records. It’s a culmination, a distillation of their best tricks and methods. Highly recommended if you’re willing to experiment a bit, or just in general. I would play this anytime. GET YOU SOME!
PS We can only hope the rest of the tracks (from the other Pt.) see release, as well! Hear that, B-Boys? Pretty pretty please!
This can be a short review:
Beasties. Full instrumental album. Fuckin’ A.
Want more? OK.
I love the Beasties’ instrumentals. They always fit the albums perfectly, whenever they appear. It shows them to be the talented musicians they are, and that they’re fearless and willing to let it all hang out. The beauty, of course, is that their fans accept and embrace it. Face it: We love this group.
And this record? Well, much like The In Sound From Way Out, it makes for a superb party mix. It’s full of instrumental greatness and exploration. It’s funky, it’s chunky and no way is it clunky. But you knew it would be. The difference, here, is that these are all original tunes written specifically for this album.
And how cool is that. Perhaps this was a make up for there not being any instrumentals on To The 5 Boroughs. I like that thought.
So look, I tried to write more. I really did. And yet, as I learned yesterday from the comments for the Awesome I Fuckin’ Shot That! DVD review, brevity is still the soul of wit, and Levity is the sole of Cousin Itt (I still say it’s the comfortable shoes…).
Think of the Beasties getting their hands on that…
Brevity, y’know, is the soul of WIT
and Levity’s the sole of Cousin ITT…
and then they’d add something like…
This philosophy mirage make you blow your SHIT
Party people in the house couldn’t handle IT…
I smell a hit record.
Oh hell, why am I making up Beastie lyrics when I’m writing about an instrumental album?
Anyway, I also learned that I can generally sum things up fairly quickly if I’m of a mind to do it, so…
…if you don’t already own this, go buy it and you WILL fall in love. If you do have it already, well, you know of what I speak.
Thank you good night.
You all know the concept. Beasties threw a concert at Madison Square Garden in NYC 2004-10-09 – of course, it was sold out. They gave cameras to 50 people in the crowd and let them film the whole thing. Some lucky bastard got the job of going through all that footage afterwards, and the result is this video.
It’s trademark Beasties. In other words, mostly fucking brilliant. The music is just perfect. Mix Master Mike is all over the decks, the Boys rap their asses off and play their hearts out. So great.
The Cuban story at the beginning cracked me up. Oh man, to have seen the Beasties live… This DVD Is as close as I’m ever gonna get, now…
There are many highlights, of course. The Mix Master Mike intro captures the energy and anticipation that must’ve been in that room. I love how they’re rougher (more unhinged?) on a lot of the raps. I love how they mess with the versions, like Root Down. There is some silly crap, like splitting up the crowd to shout “It’s Time To Get Ill.” An energy killer. Just get on with it. Then again, they bring out Doug E. Fresh, so that’s all cool. Shake Your Rump is a total party, of course.
Fun when they come out for Sabrosa in tuxedos, on a lighted moveable stage. The animation during Something’s Gotta Give is trippy (maybe they didn’t get good footage there, so cover it with this?). At some point here it all switches to black and white. Thinking about this now, this was all a bold move for them, really, with MSG full of Beastie crazy fans… An instrumental set within a set, and after they’ve already got ‘em all charged up? Of course, it’s also a natural. Brilliant.
An Open Letter To NYC and Right Right Now Now back to back kills, MCA jumps off the stage and gets closer to the crowd. Letting the crowd sing Paul Revere was sweet, and it’s here the video goes back to colour. For Body Movin’ it goes to some weirdo black and white outline thing. The cuts to the hallway and wherever during a smokin’ Three MCs And One DJ are totally distracting. Of course they rectify that error of editing with a jumpin’ Brass Monkey. They rip through more great tracks in a row, totally recapturing the energy. Ch-Check It Out is the end of the set, wait for encore.
And what a cool return, out in the crowd for Intergalactic. And here’s where you know they own this town. A lot of other acts, if they tried that, they’d either be mobbed and unable to perform or, well, taking their lives in their hands. Not these guys, it’s all in the palm of their hands… run back to the elevator, through the bowels back to the band stage and totally rip the last two tracks a new one. Yes! I hated the camera effects on Grattitude. Not impressed at all. Sabotage is just crazy. Of course.
But, I hear you say, what’s it like to watch? With all those cameras, angles, not to mention completely unprofessional camerapeople who were there to party (and may well have been high)… well, you know, most of it isn’t so bad. There’s some dumb cuts of camera people trying to get people to cheer for the camera when they’re too busy getting their funk on, all eyes on the stage. One guy takes the camera to the can to take a leak. He flushes with his foot. At least he washes his hands. It’s funny, but… not essential.
I do have a complaint about some of it, in that it’s a bit like trying to watch those fucking Bourne movies. You know the thing I mean, where they think they’re being all avant garde because the camera’s hand-held and it jostles with the action. Supposed to make you feel more a part of it, I guess, though I’d say all it does is make me wanna barf. Well, in this case we expect it (but those Bournes had no excuse). Amateurs in this case, amateurs then (and who had more fun? I could tell you it wasn’t the crew on those Bournes). Now, I know HMO is probably gonna say he likes those films, and to each their own… He’d love this video, then, yeah? Yeah!
Anyway, there are a few spots that are hard to watch for all the swinging around and out-of-focus images, and many spots play like some video editing grad’s first day job where they were given carte blanche to use all the tricks they learned in school. Unnecessary. They could’ve had one stationary camera right in the middle, with no effects on any of it, and we’d still love it. In fact, I’d like to see them re-release this show without all the claptrap. It is what it is, though.
Aw nevermind, it hardly matters. Just watch this. It’s pretty damn awesome. Beasties rule, and the live show looked like it was tremendous.
GET YOU SOME.
Mix Master Mike Intro
Time To Get Ill
Pass The Mic
Shake Your Rump
Mix Master Mike Interlude
Something’s Got To Give
An Open Letter To NYC
Right Right Now Now
Three MCs And One DJ
So What’cha Want
Ch-Check It Out
I mean, holy fuck. They really gave it all. ALL.
This DVD is not done with you, yet. It also has the show intros from the last leg of the 2005 Australian tour, the Shazam! video with remixes, “A Day In The Life Of Nathaniel Hornblower,” and “Beastie BBQ Cook-Off.” These have their moments. But really, the meat of this disc is the concert.
In sum: Watch the Beasties in concert? How is this even a question. Get this.
6 years. 6 years between Hello Nasty and this record.
I did some digging, to see what they were up to in all that time, and they were not entirely idle. 1999 saw the release of Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sounds Of Science compilation, as well as the Scientists Of Sound (The Blow Up Factor Vol. 1) 12”. In 2000, they followed up with the Beastie Boys Video Anthology (Criterion). They did tour Hello Nasty into 1999 and 2000, then fewer dates in 01-03. So, while those anthologies are awesome, and touring is always a good idea, 6 years is still a stretch.
Whatever. I think it was worth it.
Of course, there’s more info right here.
Ch-Check It Out was a single, you’ll know it. It’s a monster track, super-fun. A real return to form, and as album opener!
Right Right Now Now was another single, and it sounds (to me) like the RZA did the music for it. That’s a cool thing! “It’s been too long” works on so many levels, here. This track has a great groove, and a great message. Yum.
3 The Hard Way is funky slinky and a little wonky-sounding, but it’s all good. Oh man it’s good to hear these guys having fun.
It Takes Time To Build has a really tight sound – in the 80s, it would have been done on a Casio keyboard. This is a very political track, openly questioning the leaders and their choices. Some funny alien advice at the end, too.
Rhyme The Rhyme Well is nother tight-sounding track, and it has a big fat ass. Cool song, and a fun outro.
Triple Trouble was a single, another old school B-Boys romp that samples big-time from Rapper’s Delight. Yes, Yes, YES!
Hey F*?# You is a funny little track bashing other rappers. A cool jam, too. Usually I get tired of rappers posturing, but when the Beasties do it, well, that’s OK by me.
Oh Word is a funky jam slathered in weird electronic noises. It definitely fits the record, if saying that makes any sense at all. It made sense when I was typing it…
That’s It That’s All keeps that old school ball rolling. I’m lovin’ it.
All Lifestyles picks up the pace quite a bit, turns the bass lower yet and makes you need to move your ass. Also, it has a great message of inclusion. I’m with it, y’all.
Shazam! is so simple, musically. Almost thin. But it’s refreshing. It sounds like they could jam this one on a street corner.
An Open Letter To NYC was a single, and deservedly so. It’s an ode to their hometown, and mentions 9/11 and the fallout. I love the Dead Boys Sonic Reducer sample – my ears perked right up.
Crawlspace is a funky mover, a little silly, but hey who cares? Just move!
The Brouhaha is yet another old school jam. Man, I’m loving these tracks. It’s just FUN.
We Got The is an electro dance-style track. Interesting, and a bit of an odd way to end an album. Nevermind, it’s a real party jumper.
In sum: This is a very different record. It’s still goofy, it’s still sassy, they’re still on top of their game and they sound as good as ever (though MCA sure sounded rough). But there’s a lot of heavy stuff here, too. A sign of maturity, surely. And don’t forget, their beloved hometown went to hell on 9/11, and frankly the city’s still feeling the aftereffects of that even now, so there’s that, too.
Also, I don’t think it’s fair to compare this to Hello Nasty, though that’s what people would inevitably do since this is HN’s (belated) follow-up. HN was so full, so big-sounding. Lots of extras. Whereas, TT5B is (especially in comparison) more sparse… looking back, perhaps, at the earlier days.
Perhaps most interesting is the lack of instrumental and/or hardcore tracks. I don’t know why they left them out, if there were any recorded for it.
So? Honestly, we didn’t have to wait 6 years for this. But we did, and it’s a truly cool record. I loved it.
It took four years for the B-Boys to follow up the monster of a record that was Ill Communication with another studio album proper (though they were hardly idle in that time), and I can remember a few friends quite concerned that they were done, that they couldn’t/wouldn’t do it. These conversations only happened because these friends really cared what happened to the Boys, and were just hoping they wouldn’t lose it.
Silly people, this is the BEASTIES.
So, Sir Earl Of Swirl, have we reached your chosen point of excitement, with this record? Or have I missed my guess?
Also, there’s lots of info here.
First off, a statement: This Should Have Been A Double Album. Think about it for a minute. What’s the best way to follow the record that gave you your Fuck You money? Hm? Double album. Go big, or go frickin’ home. Music history is littered with bands that went ambitiously into the fray, largely with great success. I’m sure you can name a few.
So, and stay with me here, if you took the tracks from Aglio E Olio (and surely there were even more than those on hand, somewhere), and mixed it all together with what ended up being Hello Nasty, you’d have a well-timed double album that would strip paint, deflower virgins and send satellites off course with its sheer mighty power. Of course, this is just my humble opinion. No one ever asks me how to do these things, at the time. I wish they would, but they don’t.
What we did get, however, was Hello Nasty. (Paint, virgins and satellites remain in peril).
And I have to be honest, at first I didn’t really like it. I don’t know why. I wish I could tell you. But my buddy Brian bought it and loved it and I heard it and passed on it. I’m trying hard to think of what the hell else I could have been listening to in 1998 to make me think that (probably a lot of radiohead’s OK Computer), but whatever it was, it wasn’t too long before I came around. And I was fully aboard once I got there. This is one helluva bomb going off in your stereo. A funk bomb. An awesome bomb. Check it out:
Super Disco Breakin’ skips and jumps in pure Beastie beauty. This is a party track! You know this song. This all folds beautifully into…
The Move, more of the same level of awesome. The bass here is huge. And they shout-out Toulouse-Lautrec, which pleases me. Add the fun Spanish thing at the end as intro to…
Remote Control, which was a single and you’ll know it well. It has that totally memorable riff, which seems so simple. It’s just a great jam, walking-pace perfect.
Song For The Man is a jazzy soul track that plays like an interlude, even though it’s still three minutes long. Cool stuff.
Just A Test is a great club track… just picture flashing lights and a dancehall with everyone jumping in time to the music…
Body Movin’, another single, is one you surely know. It’s a cool groove, complete with dance instructions, scratching, chipmunk-like vocals on the chorus…
Which leads us to the big single…
Intergalactic. I don’t need to say a word about this one, do I? You just got it in your head, didn’t you! Wow. What a huge track, and pure Beasties. It had a great video, too. I love the switch at 2:35… “mmmm drop?” So fun. There’s a silly little tag-on, too, which leads us into…
Sneakin’ Out The Hospital, a simple instrumental line with some noise experiments over top.
Putting Shame in Your Game’s wide open, big room sound, with booming bottom end, gives their raps lots of space. This one is actually pretty trippy.
Flowin’ Prose’s sweet funk groove almost hides the whispered vocals. It’s a cool effect.
And Me has a reggae-like feel, but more electronic. (Duh?) It’s definitely a departure, though, but not unlikeable.
And then we move into another huge song…
Three MCs And One DJ. You know this one. From the Mix Master Mike phone message intro right on down.. Go! Hell yeah.
The Grasshopper Unit (Keep Movin’) shuffles smoothly along, pure Beasties slathered in scratching and noises and, at points, a gospel-like vocal. It breaks down into beat boxing and then outta breath…
Songs For Junior always totally reminds me of Santana’s Oye Como Va. A Sweet instrumental jam, this one.
I Don’t Know’s cool acoustic intro picks up where Songs For Junior left off. Listen to this singer-songwriter ballad-like song, with Miho Hatori on vocals, and be a little disoriented. This is Beasties? Sounds more like the exact opposite. Which is why it works.
The Negotiation Limerick File brings back the Beasties’ forté: sweet groove, all three of them rapping over top. I really like the music, here.
Electrify is a song I’ve always thought sounds like what would happen if you let Tom Waits write a track for the B-Boys. I could be way off, in that thinking, but it’s just wonky enough…
Picture This is a great 70s lounge track, with smooth vocals from a lady named Brooke Williams. A nice interlude, into…
Unite, another great Beastie Boys anthem that’s sure to keep the party hoppin’. I like the feel of this one very, very much. “Ravers of the world unite!”
Dedication is a fun enough track musically, but pretty lazy, lyrically. They’re just shouting out place names. Upper Tasmania? Check. Gloucester, Massachusetts? Check. Ooookay, it’s the equivalent of listening to them read an atlas as they randomly flip pages open and point at places. The only cool one was “Newcastle… where Venom come from (sic)…” Yes, the B-Boys shouted-out Venom. Probably because they sampled them on CYH, as much as they’re hardcore music fans. Anyway.
Dr. Lee, PhD. features Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and totally sounds like it. A sweet reggae slow jam. At this point in this huge, sprawling, sweaty and dripping record, anything at all would have worked. Instead, they chose greatness. Of course.
And finally, Instant Death is a plinky little number, a slow build of more quiet and whispering that becomes (eventually) a bit of a drum freak-out before fading back out, lightly. Could they have ended this record with Dr. Lee? Probably. Anyway.
In sum: Holy fuck. Anyone worried they wouldn’t be able to follow up its predecessor can rest at ease. This motherfucker of a record is huge, it’s vast, and it’s all kinds of awesome. ALL KINDS.
At this point I must be driving The Earl Of Swirl crazy. He’s been waiting for me (even “doing the ‘I have to pee dance'” of anticipation) to reach some future point in the Beastie Boys’ discography (I think it’s Hello Nasty) and all of this pissing around with EPs and instrumental albums has got to be driving him nuts.
Well, fear not, Earl Of Swirl, this is the last post (and it ain’t even Rememberance Day) before I get there. But this instrumental Beasties collection requires serious comment before that, and with good reason.
Look, we all know the Beasties are all over the map. They’re punkers. They’re funkers. They’re rappers. They’re instrumentalists. They don’t give a shit what anyone thinks. All of this (and many more reasons, besides) is why we love them. LOVE. Lovelovelove. Lovelovelovelovelove. LOVE.
So, check out the track listing, here:
01 Groove Holmes
05 Son Of Neckbone
06 In 3’s
07 Eugene’s Lament
08 Bobo On The Corner
10 Lighten Up
11 Ricky’s Theme
13 Drinkin’ Wine
Recognize some of those song titles? Of course you do. Many detractors say you don’t need to own this album as most (if not all) of these tracks appear elsewhere. They’re not entirely wrong. Check it out:
Tracks 1,3,4,6 and 10 are from Check Your Head.
Track 5 is from the Sure Shot single.
Tracks 2,7,8,9,11 and 12 are from Ill Communication.
Track 13 is from the Jimmy James single.
If you own the albums, I can hear you thinking, you own most of these tracks, right?
Well, yes. But also no. You see, on this release:
Track 1 has an edited intro.
Track 3 is an alternate mix without any vocals.
Track 8 is an alternate mix.
Track 9 has a shorter intro.
Track 10 is an alternate mix without any vocals.
Also: How likely are you to own the Sure Shot and Jimmy James singles? If you’re a huge fan, maybe you do. I’m a big fan, and I do not own them, so this is a cool spot to get these tracks (5 and 13).
That makes 7/13 tracks you don’t have, if you own the albums.
Like I said, many people would say you don’t need this album if you own the records, some might even say “who gives a shit about alternate versions?”, but I disagree. This is value for your money, and it should not be dismissed as a cash grab, easy way out release of songs that already made the albums.
The In Sound From Way Out is a cool party groove, a showcase of this group’s stellar talents, and a cool addition to the discography that is definitely worth your hard-earned.
GET YOU SOME.
Ah, Root Down. I love this song.
This EP was released after Ill Communication, and at first I wasn’t sure I needed to own it. I had all the songs, right? And I don’t usually go for remixes of songs I love. However, this one is a keeper. Here’s why:
Root Down (Free Zone Mix) is a radically different imagining of the track. It’s basically a new song, in sound and approach. As much as I love the album track, I really like this too!!
Root Down (LP), of course, is the killer album version. Why this comes second in the mix instead of first, I couldn’t tell you.
Root Down (PP Balloon Mix) turns the track into more of a party jam, as if the album track wasn’t already. It’s quite a good version, more of a club feel.
*NB I linked to all three songs, so you can hear the differences. You’re welcome.
Tracks 4-10 were “Recorded LIVE in Europe, Winter 1995.” Sadly, there’s hardly (if any) crowd noise. I hate that. It’s live, let me hear it like I was there. Anyway.
Time To Get Ill is a super-cool run through. It has a great bottom end.
Heart Attack Man is a fun hardcore blast.
The Maestro has great sound… um, they’re a bit unhinged, here…
Sabrosa remains a superb instrumental.
Flute Loop has huge bass compared to the album. Huge. A superb version.
Time For Livin’ is more sweet hardcore. Woo!
Something’s Got To Give is still a cool slow groove, with a toy bomb noise added here and there for this version. Big effects on the vocals, almost like a buzzsaw or a tree frog or something. Also, from 4:28-4:57 there’s a brief hidden track, which is a snippet of So What’cha Want in Hebrew. Sounds like a radio commercial, but I can’t translate.
In sum: Is this an essential EP? Yes it is. There’s definite value for the money, even in just the title track versions alone. But the live tracks are the clincher. I don’t think they ever released an official live album, did they? A live DVD, yes (I have that), but not a live album. Weird. Anyway, this CD is great fun!
While recording for Hello Nasty, the Boys realized they had recorded too many hardcore tracks for the record. Seriously, can you have too many hardcore songs? I THINK NOT! Anyway, they instead decided to release a bunch of it as this EP, named Garlic & Oil. Why? Because they can.
The sticker on the front says “Only 8 songs, only 11 minutes, only cheap $.” That should tell you everything you need to know. Their roots are as brash punks, not brash rappers. This all would have fit perfectly on Some Old Bullshit, despite the decade+ between recording sessions.
Deal With It
Square Wave in Unison
You Catch A Bad One
I Can’t Think Straight
I Want Some
I liked this a lot, ‘cos I like that east coast early 80s punk sound.
*NB: This was actually released months before Ill Communication, so my apologies for getting slightly out of order in the chronology.
Way back in the day, 1982/83 (when I was 8 years old), the Beastie Boys were a hardcore band. A pretty good one, too (they opened for Bad Brains). This record collects their early releases, now long out of print and probably stupid-expensive.
Egg Raid On Mojo and Transit Cop (tracks 1 & 10, here) were recorded in a studio, then played on a radio show called Tim Sommer’s Noise The Show, and it’s that broadcast you hear on these two tracks.
In between there’s a bunch of decent hardcore. The song called Beastie Boys, Transit Cop (again), Jimi (which has a strange instrumental beginning that morphs into more hardcore). Holy Snappers, Riot Fight and Ode To… are all solid tracks.
Michelle’s Farm has a strange country intro that becomes hardcore. Then it’s Egg Raid On Mojo again.
From track 11, we get a switch to… what? Snot-nosed sassy punks playing at noise and hip hop and doing it fairly well, I guess. Cooky Puss is a little juvenile (who prank calls anyone, anymore?), but it’s embryonic B-Boys. Still, thank goodness they grew up, even just a little. And Bonus Batter is just an extension of Cooky Puss. Not essential.
Beastie Revolution is a weirdo reggae-like track. A lot of it is gibberish, mostly unlistenable. The music’s alright, and it does have some saving moments. And then it’s another (censored) version of Cooky Puss, before the disc ends.
In sum: Buy it for the hardcore, I liked that! But I likely won’t be playing those other tracks often.
Anyone even close to interested in the Beastie Boys HAS TO own this record. It has hits, deep cuts, their trademark snotty sass, punk funk groove up the wazoo and it’s just a great album, top to bottom. Pure classic.
There’s tons of info right here.
Sure Shot. “‘Cos you can’t, you won’t, and you don’t STOP!” Monster track.
Tough Guy is a punk middle finger to Bill Laimbeer, and he earned it. Dirty mofo, I saw him play in the Palace, 1991 or so, the Bad Boy championship Pistons (Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, that whole crew). Dirtier than Larry Bird, was Laimbeer.
B-Boys Makin’ With The Freak Freak is pure Beasties. You know that sound. And it has the funniest line on the album: “Shit, if it’s gonna be that kind of party, I’m gonna stick my dick in the mashed potatoes!” Beautiful.
Bobo On The Corner is a cool instrumental, the drums lay down the beat and then everything else skitters along with it.
Root Down. What a song. HUGE. And all about sex. “So how ya gonna kick it?”
Sabotage. Holy fuck this record is a killer. You know this song. It’s rap AND punk. And a bloody great video too.
Get It Together was a single too, and is really great. What a groove. You cannot listen to this song and not MOVE. “Phone is ringin’. Ohmygod.”
Sabrosa is pure 70s funk, instrumental and super great. This is blaxploitation soundtrack music.
The Update is a slowed down version of a couple of songs off Check Your Head, those megaphone vocals. Still, like everything else they do, you just gotta move to it.
Futterman’s Rule is a great fuzz guitar instrumental. These guys are just showing off, at this point. I swear.
Alright Hear This has good advice: “…don’t try it at home with your Dad’s stereo, only under hip hop supervision, alright?” Haha. Another Check Your Head castaway, surely. Either that or they just really grew to like this sound. Great flow, though.
Eugene’s Lament is a slow, noodly instrumental with, of all things, a violin. Crazy cool.
And now I need to tell you a story:
Back when our daughter was an infant, she had trouble getting to sleep late at night. This is not news to any parent ever. We tried everything and nothing ever seemed to knock her out (also not news to any parent ever). Except, if we put her in the car and drove her around with the music on, she might (MIGHT) finally pass out a bit faster. One night, I was driving her around the neighbourhood up the hill from our old place, and I was playing this album. Why? Because dammit, if I gotta be tooling around the streets so she could fall asleep, I was damn well gonna play the music I wanted to hear! I couldn’t tell you now if we started the album from the top, this noght (probably not), but when we hit the next three tracks (Flute Loop, Do It, and the instrumental Ricky’s Theme), she passed right out.
I swear, it was like magic. I don’t know what it is about that three-song combination, but for weeks, these were the songs that finally (FINALLY) helped our beautiful girl sleep (for a few hours, anyway). I even made a mix CD for the car, isolating these three songs (along with some Van Morrison and Gordon Lightfoot, others that seemed to work though not as well as these three). With a Sharpie I wrote: GO TO SLEEP, SOPHIE on it. And even today, I keep these songs on the mix in the car. She’s two and a half, now, and she still perks up, with a big grin, and says “It’s the BOYS!”
Forever will I think of this 3-song combo, deep cuts all, as the songs that saved our lives from the wide awake baby girl. Thank you, Beastie Boys. It is no reflection on your music that it made her sleep. Far from it. But you know that you have to go with what works, especially when you are sleep deprived and delirious, and this did. GOLD. One day, though, I know she’s going to come to me and say “Daddy, what does ‘Step inside the motherfucker and I get my flow on’ (from Do It) mean?”
Of course, until I made the mix CD for my baby girl, I had to be quick enough in my exhaustion to skip the next track, Heart Attack Man, which is another loud and brash punk blast à la Tough Guy.
The Scoop is another megaphone vocals track. I get it, I do. But it is a bit tiresome. Aw, I can’t stay mad, fair play, it still works.
Shambala starts out with monks chanting in that creepy low-voice sound. It eventually becomes a funky instrumental exploration which leads into…
Bodhisattva Vow, which keeps the monks and adds the megaphone vocals and some Eastern instrumentation. I can’t imagine Buddhists playing this to try to get young people interested in their thing, but you never know.
And finally, Transitions closes out the record with a slow groove instrumental that ends, of all things, with a timpani roll.
In sum: You know, there are great records in this world AND THIS IS ONE OF THEM. I swear up and down that these first four Beastie albums (Licensed To Ill, Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head and Ill Communication) are must-owns for anyone even remotely interested in this band, or hip hop in general. There is so much packed into each one of these records that you could spend ages discovering things. Ill Communication is like an icing on an already awesome cake.
For the purposes of this series, we’re about to go off on a couple of tangents, and then get into some records I maybe don’t know quite as well. Will they be as essential as these four? LET’S FIND OUT!
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.
Ohmygoodness Paul’s Boutique.
It is pure Beasties. It screams 1970s sounds, and it screams New York City. It’s rare to find an album that so clearly represents it’s place and influences. Is it their greatest record? Oh man, how do you choose. But it might be. Anyway.
Hot damn, this is one HELLUVA joint! A total landmark achievement.
There’s lots about this record right here.
This site right here has laid out everything you need to know about the samples used in the songs. Well done!
To All The Girls is a bit silly. Oh, it’s a soulful groove, and a short song, but who cares how many places they can name where girls might come from, really? ‘Cos, you know, there are girls everywhere, so if you look at it another way they’ve left out a lot of places. Unless there was some agenda as to why they shout-out the places they do? But I doubt it. They sound drunk. Whatever, we get it. You like girls. We do too!
Shake Your Rump saves us, it’s a great jam that has great drums. Man, they’re all over the place and I love it. I’ve also heard that (annoying) high-pitched “oo-uh ooh-uh” thing in later recordings from other people, so somehow this may have possibly become influential for that. But ignore that small part of the song and you’re left with a great old school Beasties freak out.
Johnny Ryall is a slinky groove that tells the story of a guy you might not wanna know. No matter, this is a song that’ll have you nodding along to it despite yourself.
Egg Man brings back the energy and speed, rapping about a silly idea and, hey, it’s the Beasties and it works. It’s a solid, driving beat.
High Plains Drifter is a (very) laid back track. I like the flow, the groove, and the woman moaning sex-like in the background. Such a simple song, but only because they make it seem easy.
The Sounds Of Science could leave you to believe it’s a toss-off, a cheap track to fill space. But let it get to 1:38 and be blown backwards by the rapid-fire rapping. Very cool.
3-Minute Rule is another slow groove, alas it never really goes anywhere. They dink around with a few effects, but it’s not their greatest effort.
Hey Ladies is one you all know, and it’s a pure party tune. Jump up and get down! Go! So funky! I love this track.
5-Piece Chicken Dinner is completely disorienting – on purpose. Banjo pickin’ and country fiddle while they guys hoot and holler in the background. Fortunately, it’s only 0:23, so I wouldn’t read too much into it except they were probably trying to show off and knock you off your balance.
Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun is so heavy. The guitar, the raps. It’s aggression, it’s… metal. That site (above) says the guitar is a chunk of Mountain’s Mississippi Queen. Cool.
Car Thief is funky enough, definitely harkening back to its influences. Tracks like this shouldn’t work, but they do.
What Comes Around is another excellent slow jam. YES! I cannot get enough of tracks like this. Great cruising music.
Shadrach is a fun track – very danceabe and with one helluva funky riff.
Ask For Janice is only 11 seconds long, an advert for Paul’s Boutique. Weird.
B-Boy Bouillabaisse is 12:34 long, so you have to know they’re gonna go out on every limb in the tree on this one. The “aw yeah!” reminded me of Young MC (“is it live, is it real AW YEAH!). It’s a verbal description of a woman doing a strip tease. Juvenile, sure. But it becomes beat-boxing, a cool group jam, then a faster dance track with phoned-in megaphone effects on the vocals. It goes back to the slow, then another funky bit, a live bit, then a return to the sweet groove from the album intro to bookmark it. Whew!
In Sum: Dammit own this. One of hip hop’s greatest. I actually had a hard time writing this one up, it’s just so good. YES!!
Pauls’ Boutique is that fucking good. I swear.
The Readers have spoken! The results are in from the poll I posted here a week ago, and the Beastie Boys received 30% of the vote to become the subject of my next album series!
UPDATE: Craig added a late vote for the Beasties, giving them 4/11 or 36% of the vote.
I am excited!!
Yesterday, the day the poll votes were finalized, I saw a Dad in a Beastie Boys t-shirt at my son’s school. I told him I’d just been listening to Licensed not five minutes before, and he got a huge grin on his face. All of this, it might seem, was meant to be.
Now, Uncle Meat (quite rightly) suggested that going through these studio albums song by song would be a major undertaking. I am not afraid of this. I am ambitious! Hell, I put Tom Waits in the poll, and if he’d been selected, I could have been doing a series of his stuff a lot longer! No matter, Beasties it is, and Beasties it shall be.
For those playing the home game: I have already reviewed this first album. And I suppose you could click that link and just read that post and think you’ll be able to skip what follows below. You’d be wrong. Oh, there’ll be some repeating myself, hell I may even contradict myself. But I approached this album today with the intent of reviewing it for this series, forgetting all I may have written on the subject before. See the love I have for you?
Also, there’s a ton of cool info about this record right here. I link this so I won’t have to re-type everything, and leave space for my own thoughts on the record.
And if you wanna know all the samples on the record, try this.
Rhymin’ And Stealin’ kicks us off. “Ali Baba and the 40 thieves!” Oh man, turn this up. The Sabbath/Led Zeppelin mash-up quote (Sweet Leaf/When The Levee Breaks) is a great intro to this classic record. And both tracks are well-selected – Sweet Leaf given the cover art (the plane hitting the mountain looks like a joint being stubbed out), and this track certainly announces that a levee is breaking and the Beasties are the flood.
The New Style is a total Run-DMC homage. I loved this, it’s total old school… from when it wasn’t really all that old. Um. That guitar stab reminded me of Tone-Loc, too. They don’t sample Zeppelin in this one, but they take a poke at Jimmy Page: “If I played guitar I’d be Jimmy Page/the girlies I like are underage, check it!” Total sass. The samples of B-Boys and Trouble Funk (remember when ROLLINS re-released their stuff on his own label? I DO!). “Let me clear my throat…” and then at 3:09 it switches gears and all I can hear is all that bass-heavy slow jam rap that’s come since.
She’s Crafty marries Zeppelin’s The Ocean guitar line to a jam that surely influenced Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. Yes, you read that correctly. This is a fun dance track.
Posse In Effect is a slow jam with a big fat ass. Great cruising music. Fantastic.
Slow Ride is another funky drummer old school jumper. Listening to this stuff, it’s easy to picture kids on a street corner, a boom box coughing up beats as they let it flow. For some reason, their sample of War’s Low Rider is not listed at that samples link I provided, above.
Girls is a crazy tune, hilarious, an ode to the ladies with a completely ridiculous riff. And why do they want girls? To do dishes, clean the bathroom and wear tight pants, apparently. Oh man. And that goofy toy piano riff? Also not listed at the link above, I believe that’s Bo Diddley’s I’m All Right.
Fight For Your Right is just huge. All over. Gone are the dinky little raps. This is punk metal shout-along, packed with all they had and aimed at the big-time. They hit it. Hard. Listen to this and remember that, before taking up the rap game, these guys were a punk band. They play their own instruments. So really, this had to happen. It’s a totally classic track.
No Sleep Til Brooklyn follows the big hit perfectly. I’ve always loved this song, an album fave for me. I defy you to not bang your head to this one, and all with a big smile on your face while you’re at it. Beastie metal! The guitar (which interpret’s AC/DC’s T.N.T.), of course, was provided by Kerry King of Slayer. He got involved through producer Rick Rubin, who was working on this record and Slayer’s Reign In Blood simultaneously.
Paul Revere’s slippery riff is so off the wall it works. The groove is laid down and the Boys take turns rapping over it. It seems so simple, doesn’t it.
Hold It Now, Hit It is another gift to Fresh Prince (haha). Honestly, though, the Beasties do it way better. This one samples a bunch of stuff (including Kool & The Gang), and it has aged well. It shouldn’t have, by rights. They sound like toss-offs. But it did survive, and they are not toss-offs. Fun stuff!
Brass Monkey always sounded like another goof track, to me. That honking saxophone ought to be off-putting, but of course it works. Another fun jam. Get off yer ass and dance!
Slow And Low is another slow track, but it’s a stomper that has a force all of its own. That link (above) says there’s a sample of AC/DC’s Flick Of The Switch in here, somewhere.
And finally, Time To Get Ill steps forward. It’s a slow cruncher, a good shout-along track. According to the link, it samples at least 7 tracks, including Barry White, CCR, Zeppelin (again), Schooly D and Stevie Wonder. They brought us into the album on an old school tip, and out we go on the same.
In sum: A total classic, through and through. Two thumbs way up. Way, WAY up.
I was 12, the perfect age to be swept away by this very popular record. And I certainly had opportunity. A friend from across the road had it, on cassette, and I heard it many times. But I never owned it, never sought it out. I was the jazz kid, back then.
Still, I’ve had this CD forever, though I couldn’t tell you when I finally got my own copy. It seems like it’s been here forever. Played it the other day and, you know what? If this were any other artist than the Beasties, I’m not so certain that it would have aged so well. Hip hop was very, very different then, true. It’s not simpler, not less sophisticated. Just… different. And not in a bad way. It just is. You can tell I’m no expert on the genre.
The Zeppelin samples caught my ear, of course. The wonky CCR/Zep bit in Time To Get Ill was fun. I think I still love No Sleep Till Brooklyn best, but it’s not really fair to pick a favourite track is it? Anyway. The big single, Fight For Your Right, still stirs the soul no matter how many times I hear it. Girls is the goofiest crap you’ve ever heard.
But what really makes this record work, why it holds up now in 2014, is the sass. These were the ballsiest, brashest, most insouciant go-getters, bar none. Even when they’re throwing down utter gibberish, they know it, and they’re doing it with a nod and a wink. But for the majority of this joint, they’re whip-smart and absolutely killing it. The flow, all the oddball references too, everything we’ve come to love about this group was already here on this early effort. You can’t help but be swept away.
This record is totally infectious. Think I’m-a go play it over again…