Beastie Boys Music

Beastie Boys Music

Something to remember while listening to the 2020 anthology Beastie Boys Music is that the band never knew what they were doing exactly—they had ideas but not really a plan. At least, not evidently. Listening to Music, the impression is of a band in a state of restless experimentation, true to themselves but so dilated and available to what the world had to offer that they couldn’t stay in place for long. They were magpies, and in their continuous absorption—new and old, white and black, cool and cool-in-waiting—they not only redrew boundaries between hip-hop, pop, and rock, but anticipated a culture in which stewing together your disparate interests could be a gesture of creativity in and of itself. That all this stuff hangs together—“Fight for Your Right,” “Shake Your Rump,” “Intergalactic,” “Make Some Noise”—is remarkable, and a testament to the continuity of the band’s spirit over nearly 30 years of stylistic jumps. That they give it to you achronologically, and yet it all flows together, is more so. Oh, and they called for the liberation of women from men (“Sure Shot”) and Tibet from China. What else were you looking for from a band, exactly?

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