Thursday, June 10, 2010

Beastie Boys - Check Your Head (1992)

The blend of styles on here and ability to swap between moods and textures this effortlessly was probably a big deal to rap music back in 1991. But today, listening to this album fresh with the knowledge of what's happened since, it feels more odd than anything. Still, what's good here is excellent, and what's bad really isn't bad at all, just bizarre. This is an album that, much like Paul's Boutique, begs to be dissected, but for entirely different reasons. On that album, you're trying to discover exactly how The Dust Brothers made it sound the way it does, and trying to figure out where the hell this or that sample came from. Here, it's just to find out what song does what, so you can take the album apart and put it back together in an order that makes more sense. The programming does hurt this album - as the album progresses, the rap tracks are fazed out and the instrumentals take over, and that can't help but be an anticlimax. But hey, let's not complain too much - while their talents may still be up for debate in some quarters, there aren't many artists in hip-hop who've made as many great albums as the Beasties have, and this is another. As far as blending their two previous efforts together goes, they basically succeeded - this is fun, upbeat, and NOT retarded, with a lot for both B-boys and bedroom music lovers to enjoy.

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