Beastie Boys | Hot Sauce Committee Part Two

Capitol Records (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  May 6, 2011
3.5 3.5 Stars

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"Back on the mic, it's the anti-depressor," flows King Ad-Rock over raunchy drums and speaker-busting clavinet in "Make Some Noise," the bravado launching pad of Beastie Boys' eighth studio album. It's tough to argue with his logic. In terms of straight-up free-spirited musical fun, the Beasties might as well be a fucking pharmacy of rap-funk escapism. In Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (evolved from a proposed Part One after delays, resequencing, and MCA's cancer scare), they've combined the live-band focus of 2007's all-instrumental The Mix-Up with the old-school hip-hop of 2004's The Five Burroughs — only put through a blender and sprayed against a back-alley wall. The production is tight and headphone worthy, but the Beasties haven't sounded this raw and punk since Ill Communication. As always, the dope shit is layered with geeky pop-culture references that run from old-school hip-hop to old-time TV, from Lee Majors to former NBA player/commentator John Salley. Being older means taking less-bad-ass lyrical stances — in the unreal, Herbie Hancock–style funk of "Funky Donkey," MCA boasts, "I don't wear Crocs, and I don't wear sandals." When Mike D brags he's going to "open up a restaurant with Ted Danson" in lead single "Make Some Noise," it's unclear whether he's alluding to Curb Your Enthusiasm or debating a legitimate middle-aged business proposition. But the music hasn't sounded this inspired in ages. The disorienting vocal effects and syncopated flows in "Nonstop Disco Powerpack" are borderline psychedelic. "Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament" is futuristic space funk with jazz bass percolating next to vocoder and thick percussion. At one point in this endlessly replayable thicket, Ad-Rock unleashes an "I don't give a fuck who the hell you are." Point taken. But a more representative lyric might be "The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding's in my pants." Thirty-some years in, the Beasties are as sharp, hilarious, funky, and escapist as they've ever been.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Beastie Boys, Beastie Boys,  More more >
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