Sorry to be so greedy and post 2 AOTW. If I cut in front of anybody, I apologize.
Okay, I’m zipping up my extra thick skin for this one, because it means a lot to me, and I’m not sure it will prove very popular. This was a constant soundtrack to my life after it came out, and I listened to it again in the car after a long long time of not hearing it, and was struck by just how good it is. It felt like riding a bike again after a long time. It feels familiar but still exciting, it moves you along but the pace changes up as you go, sometimes it’s leisurely, sometimes blistering. The reason I thought of it as an AOTW is that it really works (for me) as an album. It’s an odd mix of styles, but they cohere, and they’re all glued together by these wonderful instrumental tracks, which are imaginative and innovative. Another reason I thought of it as an AOTW is that I feel that the Beastie Boys are a band that might be misunderstood. I think a lot of people won’t let them outgrow their persona of snotty juvenile bare-bones rappers – and certainly they started out that way. They changed, though…they matured musically and lyrically, and I think this album is proof of that. This is their fourth album; they sound so good together, they sound relaxed and confident, they still have their trademark irreverent humor, which borders on goofiness, but there’s so much more going on as well. To borrow from the allmusic reviews of this album and it’s predecessor Check Your Head, the Beastie Boys were moving away from rap to fully embrace their magpie-style of gathering every shining thing that caught their eye, and weaving it together into something new…
As it happened, the Beasties had repositioned themselves as a lo-fi, alt-rock groove band. They had not abandoned rap, but it was no longer the foundation of their music, it was simply the most prominent in a thick pop-culture gumbo where old school rap sat comfortably with soul-jazz, hardcore punk, white-trash metal, arena rock, Bob Dylan, bossa nova, spacy pop, and hard, dirty funk.
With this record, the Beasties confirm that there is indeed a signature Beastie Boys aesthetic (it’s too far-ranging and restless to be pegged as a signature sound), with the group sticking to a blend of old school rap, pop culture, lo-fi funk, soulful jazz instrumentals, Latin rhythms, and punk, often seamlessly integrated into a rolling, pan-cultural, multi-cultural groove
Some of the highlights for me are Get it Together, which features Q Tip, Root Down, which (eternal thanks, Nilpferd) samples Jimmy Smith, and Flute Loop, which is just a delight.
Anyway, give it a go.
Spotify Link…Beastie Boys – Ill Communication
And it’s in the box. Thank you for your patience. Now I’m going to do two EOTWQ. Just kidding!!