21 April 2013

21st April - Beastie Boys' Check Your Head

Artist – Album: The Beastie Boys – Check Your Head
Released:  21st April 1992
Sounds Like: Funky hip hop

The Beastie Boys first struck gold with the exaggerated frat boy image (not to mention the then novelty of white men rapping) of ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party!)’, a riotous and dumb punk rap amalgamation which unfortunately became a VW-emblem-shaped albatross around their necks. For some reason, people found it hard to take seriously a trio of wealthy, middle-class Jews that wore stupid clothes and rapped about not wanting to go to school (go figure), and they seemed destined to pave the way for other hip hop jokes such as Vanilla Ice.

In 1989 they sought to change this with their second album Paul’s Boutique, their sprawling and sophisticated magnum opus. Despite some rave reviews, the album tanked. It did, however, begin to gather a cult following, and by the time of Check Your Head’s release, the Beasties were relevant again – only in a much more permanent way then the party animal personas of before. Although not as important, nor as rewarding, as their previous masterpiece of an album, Check Your Head is an accessible and enjoyable follow up.

Blending rock samples and hip hop beats with their nasal, shouted vocals has been a staple of their sound throughout their careers, and it’s in full force here. But, equally, there’s also funk, punk, soul, jazzy interludes, and even a prominent Bob Dylan sample on this admittedly messy record.

Following the groundswell of love for Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head arrived at just the right time to announce the Beastie Boys return to the big league, and cemented their place as one of the most forward thinking and influential collectives of their time. Their fourth album, Ill Communication, and lead single 'Sabotage' would both be smash hits two years later, and two years on from that Beck would basically update this album’s formula to release the seminal Odelay.     

Albumaday... rating:  7/10

1.       Jimmy James – 3:14
2.       Funky Boss – 1:35
3.       Pass the Mic – 4:17
4.       Gratitude – 2:45
5.       Lighten Up – 2:41
6.       Finger Lickin’ Good – 3:39
7.       So What’cha Want – 3:37
8.       The Biz vs The Nuge – 0:33
9.       Time for Livin – 1:48
10.   Something’s Got to Give – 3:28
11.   The Blue Nun – 0:32
12.   Stand Together – 2:47
13.   POW – 2:13
14.   The Maestro – 2:52
15.   Groove Holmes – 2:33
16.   Live at P.J.’s – 3:18
17.   Mark on the Bus – 1:05
18.   Professor Booty – 4:13
19.   In 3’s – 2:23
20.   Namasté – 4:01

Listen to ‘So What’cha Want ’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru3gH27Fn6E

Also released on the 21st April:
2008: Flight of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords
Also released on the 21st April:
2009: The Horrors – Primary Colours

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