Apr 29


By Tyler Blue (Website | Twitter)

We can feel the planetary shift coming on. From weather to war to welfare, we can sense the world imploding and only hope to be part of its reinvention. Evolution is a powerful word and it can apply to so many different forms of life. Humans have evolved in synch with the music created around them. All of the great albums of music history serve as reflections of their generation on one level or another. I’m not implying the Beastie Boys’ Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 deserves consideration in this category…but it might. Their new album puts on a clinic in exploring virgin terrain while carrying a retro torch.
Depending on the listener’s state of mind, “Sauce” could be perceived as an expression of genius containing the secret to life or an overproduced piece of crap. After my maiden spin on headphones, I leaned towards the latter. Two more listens later and I was drinking the Kool Aid. Some of us have gathered a few gray hairs over the last seven years since the Beastie Boys’ last hip hop offering - the criminally underrated To the 5 Boroughs. 2007’s all instrumental The Mix Up was an aberration. Going strong since the mid-80s, the band was injected with a rare dose of mortality when MCA - AKA Adam Yauch - was faced with a bout of throat cancer. On the other side with a clean bill of health, this album is delivered anxiously, with a “strike hard at the brink of the apocalypse” sort of focus. Although, at points it puts on the guise of a half-baked lark which could come unraveled like a ball of yarn.

Following the model of previous albums, the first single - in this case the album’s first song - “Make Some Noise” - is its obvious alpha dog. Continuing where they left off with 1994’s Ill Communication, the Beasties establish a dirty precedent with layers of grit coated over the mix. We are instantly vaulted into a familiar comfort zone as this track kicks open the back door to reveal a party we thought ended a long time ago. It’s irresistible as ever but this time everyone’s wearing styley new clothes. “Sauce’s” rough-around-the-edges aesthetic hits its zenith on “Say It” which would be a parent’s nightmare blasting out of their kid’s room. A potential polarizer like “The Crunge” on Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy, one has to wade through the sonic soup to embrace the primal stomp under the surface.

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