100 Greatest Albums of the 90’s: #41

Beastie Boys – Check Your Head

’86: Licensed To Ill: Rock-rap. One of the most juvenile-and-proud-of-it records out. Think of it as an audiobook of Zoo magazine with guitar solos. Saw many a 14-year old through some tough groundings.
’89: Paul’s Boutique: Smart, squawking hip-hop over brilliantly detailed sample collages. Saw many a high school student through girlfriend-free nights in and wild nights out.
’92: Check Your Head: Their audience were growing up and learning to fend for themselves, so it’s fitting that ‘Check Your Head’ shows the Beasties at record levels of independence and experimentation. This is where they come into their own as musicians and writers, even adding keyboard player Money Mark as their fourth Beastie. ‘Check Your Head’ covers straight-up hip-hop alongside slick jazz, swanky funk, writhing rock and thrashing punk, as well as weird Indian tones in places. ‘Something’s Got To Give’ is totally unrecognisable as a Beastie Boys song and sounds like a dangerous, murky drive around a bad neighbourhood with very little fuel. It’s full of surprises, such as the spluttering sax on ‘Stand Together’ which sounds like a flamingo with a cold. At last the band were ready to induct a generation of music fans into adulthood.

Listen to: Finger Lickin’ Good

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