Okay. This may get squeezed out my Top 20 albums which I plan to reflect my Top 20 favourite albums of all time. To be honest I squeezed it in (for now,so I could write up my own take on it.) Another Beastie Boys albums will definitely feature in this Top 20. Have a guess in advance if you like which LP that may be.
I’ve given Hot Sauce Committee three listens via the stream on the official Beastie Boys site. After these three listens it may actually stay in the Top 20. Probably not – but make no mistake – it’s a great album.
With the last proper Beastie Boys album being To The 5 Boroughs released way back in 2004 I see the bands albums as true signposts as to where you (or I) are in life. I can still vividly recall the day I first heard parts of Licensed To Ill. Yes i’d heard Fight For Your Right (To Party) – it was a big hit – but initially I figured the band were a novelty outfit. I really did! – You know like Superbrat – Chalkdust that McEnroe novelty. Then way back in 1986 on a very sunny day I was on a bus going into town. 3 lads got onto the top deck of the bus I was already sitting on. With them was a huge Ghetto Blaster. From the back seat they blasted out Licensed To Ill on cassette.
As I listened to License To Ill I could hear there was a lot more going on. I’d listened to the Electro albums and owned a few of them but this was something different altogether. Rap had never sounded this fresh and up to date (1986). Lyrics that just bawled at you were fantastically interjected between the 3MC’s – the subject matter always given a near punk sneer / slant / playfulness.
Onto 2011. Make Some Noise kicks off with a wahfunk intro noodle. The vocals begins with Ad Rock – arguably the best rapper to hollar into a mic ever. Eminem, Dre, Method Man, erm, Vanilla Ice? – Meh! Ok, Chuck D is up there with them but he ain’t in the Beastie Boys!
The 3 interject, the pace is upbeat the goofball funk continues lyrics flow. Referring to a “party on the left, a party on the right, a party for the motherfucking right to fight” gets a cheeky Beastie Boys / Public Enemy nod (and slight political jibe?) in on the album opener.
Nonstop Disco Powerpack sneaks in with a mellow vibe and a love-in vocal. The band ask how each other – and you – the listener – are feeling. A beatbox runs in the background with a teasing low bass. Great to hear MCA is feeling “right” given the recent health scare. “Watch how it’s done boy, it looks easy” – the band playfully taunt and sound as assured of their MC skills as ever. “Getting high on the funky sound / Getting It On ‘Till The Break Of Dawn”… it’s like they’ve never been away.
OK enters with a near New Wave sounding intro. Quickly fried with a bit of Beastie sauce the track begins to sound like an Electro Rock anthem. Robotic voice samples “Yeah Yeah Right Right” The track is ok – for sure.
The single that had a release last year Too Many Rappers has been changed. It’s been given a Hot Sauce makeover. The intro is quirky and experimental. Then it kicks in as the single did. Samples are added to last years offering. I’m not sure if this adds or not, it may have sounded better as it was – but it’s still a cracking track. Is that a Led Zeppelin sample? Nas adds to the vocal – it works – “Let Go Of The Microphone, That’s Mine To Hold”….
Say It “To The Heart Of The Matter / The Mic I Shatter” has a near Check Your Head sound. Very welcome this is too. Vocals are muffled like Pass The Mic showcased back in ’92. I’ve only given it 3 listens but there are some great one liners in every track. The track yawns out – but boring this is not.
The Bill Harper Collection is a 20 second ditty – is that McNulty from The Wire?
Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win is as Summer as you can get. A future laidback party classic. It skanks. Dreamy and poppy at the same time the track doesn’t alienate. It manages to sound 70’s 80’s 90’s 00’s and 2011 all at the same time. Ad Rock repeats “That’s Danger” – the only danger is the track will end. Eat that Lilly Allen.
Long Burn The Fire sees the scorch return. “I Got Sharks Teeth, So I Can Bite Your Head”. Yauch raps like it’s 1989 and Paul’s Boutique rears its very welcome face. “The Proof Is In The Pudding, And The Pudding’s In My Pants, You Heard Me Rapping Now Watch Me Dance” Ad Rock picks up the rap battle from MCA with equal style. It’s a great tune.
“Put This On A Zip Disc, Send It To Your Lawyer, File Me Under Funky” kicks off Funky Donkey. The lyrical levels go up a bar.I can see this being a future stand out track for many. Mike D doing the sound of a fire engine destroys R. Kellys – Trapped In The Closet in one line flat. “Go Shave A Sheep / Knit Yourself A Sweater” MCA near growls. All 3 MC’s are on fine form. All we need is the sun.
The Larry Routine is a short burst. Mike D, Ad Rock and MCA all introduce themselves and hilariously inform us that their new name is Larry, Harry and Gary respectively. It fits. It works. The Hot Sauce continues to flow…
Tadlocks Glasses was a working title for the album. Referring to Elvis’s driver who treasured the glasses Elvis gave him the track is a magic dust of it’s own insane creating. The track ends with a rubbish rocket attempting to take off. The launch is into… Lee Majors Come Again.
Sounding like Time For Livin‘ and very early Beastie Boys punk tracks Lee Majors manages to sound fresh too. The pace gets frantic and stutters when it feels like it wants to stutter. Ending like a Minor Threat track the track nods to the bands hardcore roots and influences.
Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament teases in. Slight vocoder vocal and the pace is very mellow, evocative. It. Sounds. Fantastic. The bass wins the jam. Does it? I’m not sure. Oh, yes it does – just. I’m arguing with myself here, too much coffee! A fresh sound for Hot Sauce that, again, just works.
Here’s A Little Something For Ya a solid rap title if ever there was one. “Muh, muh, muh, muh, muh, muh, muh, muh muh Mike D” see Mike D in true form. usually my least favourite of my 3 rapping styles he’s challenging MCA and Ad Rock more than ever.
On and On To The Break Of Dawn. The Beasties know how to reference Old Skool. They Are Old Skool. Ad Rock fires up Crazy Ass Shit “Let Me Introduce Myself, I’m Ad Rock. No Matter What You Order, We Got It In Stock”. The assured lyrics flow and weave. It jams a little like Ill Communication’s B-Boys Makin With The Freak Freak. The sound is new, the nods are old. The rhymes are clear the bass is bold – you see what I did there 😉
The Lisa Lisa / Full Force Routin is essentially an outo. “Ah Shit” vocals Mike D. Ah Shit that it’s all over so soon is what I thought. A robust return from the Beastie Boys in what is their first proper studio album in 7 years (The Mix Up not included). A little love-in for New York City and it’s over…
I really enjoyed streaming the album. Respect due to the band for streaming it following a leak of a clean version of the album. Come early next week i’ll be in a record store making a physical purchase. You should too. The band are a treasure. For now put away Radiohead – King Of Limbs (remember “My Name Is Ad Rock, And I’m The King Of All Kings”) and check out what may be the essential Summer album of 2011.
I wrote this with The Royal Wedding on in the background. The sound was muted as I continued to stream Hot Sauce (that sounds a tad wrong!). It made for the funkiest wedding I’ve ever seen. Stream it. Buy It. Enjoy. 9/10.