Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Beastie Boys return to form

It would be of little use to apologize for the extended absence of regular posts. It is safe to say that I have neglected my little blog due to work and other writing commitments but I pledge to try to post more often. So thank you dear readers for bearing with my lack of consistency. But I do bring with me good news, the BEASTIE BOYS are back with a new record.

It was a bit hard to envision that these three white kids from New York would have anything close to a sustainable career after they released their first record. The story is well documented how the band, chaffed by their party frat boy personnas, dove head first into the sample heavy rap world at the time and redefined their style over the years to encompass funk, rap, punk, jazz and even straight ahead rock to carve out their own unique niche.

After an extended hiatus (their last official record was 2006), the band has returned to see the landscape has changed quite a bit since they left. They had to wonder if they would still be relevant in this new digital landscape. But fear not, "Hot Sauce Committee, Part Two" is a refreshing reminder of what has made them great. "Make Some Noise" has all the earmarks of a Beastie Single; great hook, catchy lyrics and danceable beats. The record is not as sample heavy as past records, favoring live instruments on such tracks as the galactic funk of "Ok" and reverb laden "Say It" and the outright punk of "Lee Majors Come Again". Nas shows up on "Too Many Rappers" to reaffirm his place as one of the premier battle MC's out there right now. Santigold lends her talents to the reggae jam "Don't Play No Game I Can't Win". The variety of the music is all anchored by the highly skilled lyrical acumen of Ad Rock, MCA and Mike D. It's as if they never left.

I hope that this record finds an audience with the new generation of music listeners who would benefit from the variety and lyrical skills of these refugees from a by gone era. The Beastie Boys still have a lot left to offer and have served up one of the best records of the year.

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