ALBUM: Solid Gold Hits, Beastie Boys, Capitol Records, 2005
Well, we are going from the West Coast (Beach Boys) heading straight on over to the East Coast: First stop – BEASTIE BOYS. Oh Beastie Boys, I shall always hold a special compartment in my heart chambers for you guys. Seems like only yesterday, I was watching your videos on MTV – you know, when they actually played videos and music. I’ve watched you go from skinny little white rappers to full grown artists. Ad-Rock, Mike D and MCA – RIP Adam.
(Fun Fact: “Beastie” stood for “Boys Entering Anarchistic States Towards Internal Excellence”)
Coming out of NYC, The Beastie Boys were initially formed as a hardcore punk outfit. Yep, you heard that shit right. Mike D and MCA and two others were the Young Aborigines. Ad-Rock would join the group not long after one of the other cats split. Staying punk for a while, they would eventually cross over to all rap/hip-hop becoming the Beastie Boys. They blurred the color lines and really made rap mainstream – they truly were the first “BIG” white rap group. Creating their own brand of rap-rock they served shit up tongue-in-cheek, loading with snark, pop culture references and even took a foray into pretty political shit sometimes. They were trail blazers I tell you!
So, I was going to review the 30 year old License to Ill, but since I can’t fucking afford a copy on vinyl, I had to work with what I had – so you’re getting Solid Gold Hits instead. No shit, check the prices on a vinyl copy of License to Ill. I need beer money, so it’s gonna have to wait a while. Did I just say that album was 30 years old? Jeebus. I remember when it came out! Let’s move on. First off, where the hell are the liner notes? I mean, ya’ll have a bajillionty dollars and you can’t spring for a little photo book or liner notes? Pffft…So anyway, this album consists of only tracks that were released as singles. Not that that means anything to anyone really. It’s SOLID GOLD HITS. Duh. You have a collection of some 15 pretty decent hits spanning about 18 years on this one. Some of my favorites are noticeably absent – but I dig this record. It isn’t the essential Beastie Boys but if you’re just starting off with some BB then this one should work good for you. If you don’t like them, you’re mistaken. Go listen to Shadrach on Paul’s Boutique.
Starting things out we got “So Whatcha Want” (Check Your Head), which sounds to me like they’re saying screw you to the naysayers. Hop off their nuts, cuz these white boys got beats. “Brass Monkey” (License to Ill), okay these guys clearly like to party. A lot. They were sexist fuckers but I can’t help it, I like this song. I mean could you get any douchy-er with this verse?? This girl walked by she gave me the eye, I reached in the locker grabbed the Spanish Fly, I put it with the Monkey mixed it in the cup, Went over to the girl, “Yo baby, what’s up?” I offered her a sip the girl she gave me lip, It did begin the stuff wore in and now she’s on my tip. Gloria Steinem would shit herself if she heard this song. “Ch-Check It Out” (To the 5 Burroughs) is a great, upbeat party song. I love the Miss Piggie ‘who moi?’ line – I always sing it extra loud for some reason. “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” (License to Ill) is a total crossover song. Everyone who didn’t like the Beastie Boys suddenly liked them after this song came out. You have hard rock intermingled with rap. I actually hate this song. It’s stupid. I like to watch the video because it’s fun to see how young they were and it’s just so stupidly silly. But I still hate the song. “Hey Ladies” (Paul’s Boutique) it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it (thanks, Dick Clark). Plus, cow bell! I mean, it’s not like you can’t figure out what the song’s about – Gettin’ booty. “Pass the Mic” (Check Your Head) this is a great song. It lacks the silly playfulness of most of their other songs. They got back to playing instruments and there’s a serious side to this song. Be true to yourself and you will never fall. Wise words. “An Open Letter to NYC” (To the 5 Burroughs). I know they’ve gotten a lot of “blah” for this song but I like it. This is post 9/11 and they are hometown proud, and yeah, while they don’t get into depth on the locales and topography, they sum it up. ‘Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten from the Battery to the top of Manhattan, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin, Black, White, New York, You make it happen’. Let’s see you write something better about your stompin’ grounds. I didn’t think so. “Root Down” (Ill Communication) this song is so funky. That’s it. “Shake Your Rump” (Paul’s Boutique) This song is just full of nonsensical shit. One of my favorite lines: Like Sam the butcher bringing Alice the meat – hahaha! This song is just fun. “Intergalactic” (Hello Nasty) gets stuck in my head. Every time I hear it. It’s got some catchy ass hooks and it’s ‘out of this world’! HA! Yep, just did that. “Sure Shot” (Ill Communication) has some great beats. Shout outs and pop cult references are in no shortage in this song. And that flute loop. Not froot loop. Flute loop. “Body Movin” – if you don’t dance to this song your only excuse better be that you have no legs. I mean any body is acceptable ‘let me get some action from the back section, we need body rockin’ not perfection’. “Triple Trouble” (To the 5 Burroughs) If you wanna know the real deal about the 3, yep these boys are Triple Trouble, no doubt about it. “Sabotage” is easily one of my favorite tracks. This is one of the songs where the whole hard rock mix works. The video is a funny ass spoof on 70’s tv crime shows. Watch it. You’ll be glad you did. Also, a few years back a few of us were going to participate in Cincyditarod (it’s a shopping cart race) and we were going to use this song as our intro. Why? Because we hard core planned on sabotaging muthafuckas! Last song on this album is “Fight For Your Right” which is my second least favorite song ever by the Beastie Boys. It wasn’t a good idea then, it isn’t any better now. Yes, we all want our right to party but just no Beastie Boys. No.
Like I said, if you’re a die hard Beastie Boys fan, you ain’t missing anything on this album. But for those who want to dip your toes into some Beasties, Ch-Check it out…..
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BEER: Gnomegang, Blonde Ale, Cooperstown, NY – 9.5% ABV
I went with a New York beer, cuz you know, Beastie Boys. Plus that, I love Ommegang beer – AND it’s in Cooperstown! Baseball City – Opening Day is coming up soon! Gnomegang is a beautiful, blonde ale. When you pour it you can smell the sweetness of the cloves in the beer. It has a soapy looking head. Looks like you didn’t clean all the Dawn out of your glass. There’s clearly sediment so don’t freak out – you’re beer isn’t going to be “chewy”. It’s supposed to be there. Let’s be open minded about this. The first time I tried this beer I wasn’t a fan. But now, I love it. It’s a big, fat beer at 9.5 % ABV but the alcohol is undermined by the sweetness so I can totally do this beer. Blonde ales usually are too light for me; not this one. Hello big fat Blonde!! I like to think little gnomes snuck in to Ommegang while everyone was asleep and took over cuz we all know gnomes love beer and know how to brew some shit. So they took over and added all the little gnomey bits that make this beer excellent. Maybe it’s gnome poop. I don’t care. It’s great! So go to sleep and maybe the little Gnomegang gnomes will whip up another batch for you to try.