After two massive albums in the early 90’s, we start to close out the decade and find our heroes adding elements of electronica, a new DJ and time to chill out to the mix. This is my final installment on the June Featured Artist the Beastie Boys; I hope you’ve enjoyed it so far.
Compared to the previous efforts, this album could have dropped from outer space, which is the ongoing theme throughout the artwork and some tracks. The use of synthesizers, electronica and new DJ Mix Master Mike give the Boys new direction as they prepare to close out the century. The live instrumentation is still around, but not in the abundance we heard on Check Your Head and Ill Communication so we find the Boys using MMM to splice in some slick moves while Mario Caldato Jr. helms the boards for the last time.
This was an interesting step forward and pushed the Boys out in new territory that would be explored on To The Five Burroughs and their most recent album Hot Sauce Committee Part 2, as they got back to more sample-based songs. Of course Hello Nasty does have some memorable hits: “Body Movin”, “Three MC’s and One DJ”, my favorite “Remote Control” and the infamous “Intergalactic”. There is other fun to be had around here too: “Just A Test”, “Electrify”, “Putting Shame in Your Game”, “Unite” and “Song for Junior”. The front half of the album seems to outweigh the last half. More of instrumental pieces and interludes appear toward the end, but it does have some rewards that I mentioned above.
With any luck, Avid Reader, this look at the Beastie Boys over the last few weeks has helped you dispel rumors and ideas that they were a bunch of sexist frat boys partying all day and night. The Boys stuck to their roots and continued to fuse punk rock aesthetic with old school rapping. At times the rhymes might be a little silly, but it makes singing along to them that much better.
The thought to pay tribute and spotlight the Boys was also due in part to the passing of Adam Yauch — and how tragic that is for the world of music and activism. As of now, Mike D and Ad-Rock have not announced what they plan on doing, and no matter what the future holds, it will not tarnish or embarrass the hard work that has been laid down over the past three decades.
This was an adventure for me, and I look forward to more of these exercises to challenge myself and share some honest opinions with you. Tune in next month for some more spotlight action and keep your ear goggles close by just in case.