Jodi Biddle

REVIEWED LOCALLY: Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (Capitol)

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by Jodi Biddle

Beastie Boys should have become pathetic parodies of themselves long ago. The name alone just doesn’t lend itself to a bunch of aging white guys. Yet somehow, they pull through. It probably has something to do with their brand of simplistic, catchy lyrics combined with solid beats; if you found them puerile back in the Licensed To Ill days, then don’t bother with Hot Sauce because it’s more of the same.I guess the debate here is whether or not a band is required to continue attempting to evolve past a certain point. Beastie Boys have a solid formula with beats + one-liners = fun, so why should they change? Major radio single ‘Make Some Noise’ is a case in point. “Beastie Boys/Make some noise” is obviously not lyrical genius but why should it be? It does the job.

They ramp up the collaborations this time around, with several tracks featuring guest artists. ‘Too Many Rappers’ features NAS, with a strong ‘old school’ hip-hop vibe that almost makes the current crop of R’n’B artists look like chumps except for the general lack of lyrical strength. A surprisingly great track is the collab with Santogold, ‘Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win’. It’s heavily influenced by its guest vocalist, with a retro/reggae feel that’s a refreshing note in a bunch of tracks that start to sound the same with uninterrupted listening.

On the downside, this album is mostly filler supporting some strong singles. Even though it’s only 44 minutes long, there are 16 tracks, with five clocking around or under the two-minute mark and not in the punk way. I can even pinpoint the production effect they overuse that causes the tracks to bleed into each other: that particular ‘megaphone’ vocal distortion that can be used for good but in large doses is distracting.

Still, it’s a lot stronger than 2007’s The Mix Up. They can just skim off the singles and add them to the next Best Of volume, and then no one except the hardcore fans will bother. Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the name of the album, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean much: Part 1 was supposed to be released in ’09 but they were unhappy with how it was going and scrapped it. Hence, part 2.

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