There is one hell of a lot of music here, at least it feels that way.
is a sprawling album, all over the place, but there are cool songs here too. Well - cool atmospheres, cool moments. A lot of what's here wouldn't really be classified as 'songs', rather they're instrumental mood pieces, that work all the same. Mixed in are many moments of funk, a return to Beasties hardcore, and the stupendous "Sure Shot" and "Sabotage" sitting above it all.
"Sure Shot" moves, it grooves, and I feel so dumb describing it as such. Are the Beastie Boys intelligent? Their detractors put them down for being dumb rap/rock, but this is so well put together, and the lyrics as eloquent as anything out there in modern rock music.
The hardcore comes through but then "B-Boys Makin with the Freak F" is different again, with a very heavy drum sound, deep and low, and lots of samples, the rapping's not in your face - in fact, it's been mixed back slightly. So, there's a heavy drum sound, and rapping. In fact, along with assorted sound effects, that's ALL there is. So how come it works so well? I don't quite understand what's going on throughout Ill Communication
in terms of working out how the hell they DID this stuff, but I'm impressed anyhow.
"Root Down" is an irresistable funk groove amid clever rap parts, but forget the rap, what a groove! Yet don't forget the rap, it's so well done. And don't forget the lyrics. These aren't the types of songs that rip your head off on first listen, Ill Communication
is insidious, and certainly a surprise to me just how good it really is. "Sabotage" is absolutely glorious, a thrilling Rock/Rap mix of the highest order, and quite rightly it returned the Beastie Boys to the UK singles chart. God, even something like the sample reliant "Flute Loop" charms.
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews