It is hard to believe that it has been more than 25 years since The Beastie Boys released their debut CD, Licensed To Ill. But if you’ve been listening all this time, you obviously find the group as entertaining as I do and probably enjoy the new album they released last year, Hot Sauce Committee Vol. 2
First, there is a need for a bit of explanation about the title. At this time, there is no Vol. 1. The story is that Vol. 1 was supposed to be released in 2010 but was delayed when Adam Yauch was diagnosed with cancer. Vol. 1 was delayed indefinitely, but in order to deliver Vol. 2 on schedule in 2011, the songs for that first volume album were all released on Vol. 2. Songs originally intended for this second volume will be released as Vol. 1 in the future. Confused yet?
At any rate, this CD is the eighth studio release by the band and the first since 2007. Despite some experimentation with a more electronic sound, it is the same Beastie Boys sound we’ve come to know and expect. “Make Some Noise,” for example, carries the listener back to the days of “Fight for Your Right to Party.” Most of the songs have the usual BB themes: partying, rapping, and how great the band is.
The comment has been made that my reviews are very eclectic. They are, but the thing that ties them all together is that I like songs that make me smile. And The Beastie Boys make me smile from the first few notes. It really doesn’t matter much what they are singing about. It’s all attitude, rhythm and rhyme.
Catching the occasional familiar line from somewhere else (“20 years of schoolin’ and they put you on the dayshift” from Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” turns up, for example) or a cultural reference (via the song “Lee Majors Come Again”) just adds interest to the listening experience.
The same sly humor and clever lyrics, head-banging rhythms and punk sensitivity that these guys had when they were 20 are just as evident in their 40s. Get the CD and get ready to have fun!