"People say that old trees produce the best fruit".
- Tom Waits
The Beastie Boys have been at it for more than 20 years now, ironically enough. They began as a generic hardcore-punk group, playing a few shows around New York City, producing a few lacklustre EPs eventually. Soon enough, those middle-class Jewish kids discovered the world of undeground rap, and they picked up on it very quickly. Into the late 80s, they became one of the biggest acts in the genre, and remain so. With the released of their 1989 masterpiece Paul's Boutique, the Beasties Boys grew experimental, which I may add only lasted for that album. They soon went into a more organic territory, often playing the instruments themselves a band, instead of using beats and samples for every song. Thus, their next few albums included the brilliant mixing of hip-hop, funk, hardcore, and jazz. Eventually, though, the band would have to turn on those more standard approaches to music, and went back to the turntable and samples aesthetic, the staple of the genre.
And thus, we have Hello Nasty, the Beastie Boys' 1998 "comeback," after around four years of what seems to have been total silence. Once again, the Beasties go back to layers of samples and dense beats, creating an almost hypnotic effect once achieved on albums like Paul's Boutique. Many of the songs retain a techno feel, with the return of their trademark obnoxious rhymes, each coming at you simultaneously. Some of the samples are rather strange, including the Spanish ballad early on in the album, along with other rather random skits and phone conversations. The album is full of filler, but each filler track seems to be somewhat enjoyable, even if it doesn't retain itself in your memory. Actually, a lot of Hello Nasty is easily forgotten, and quite a few songs are nowhere near catchy. The rhymes are spat out, with repetitive samples going throughout. Random blips and record scratches add even more to the rather unsettling tone of the album, making it rather uncomfortable to listen to at times. Effects pile on top of samples, which in turn pile onto drum beats, making it a rather boring album after a period of listening, despite the obvious attempt at creativity and artistic renewal, though they certainly do not fail at all. All of this can be rather overwhelming, as the album is 22 tracks long, the length of around two average albums. This certainly isn't mean tto be digested in one listen, but to be enjoyed in sections, if you can manage to be able to enjoy some of the senelessness of the songs. Somehow, even among the drudge of the album, there are a few hooks and melodies hidden among the chaos and noise, and those are what tend to make this album rewarding. It's more about the gold than the actual digging.
No way is this is 2.5 stars imo. I find that that the production is simply great, the beats are strong, and yes the rapping is goofy, but very few rappers today does it with the kind of charisma and spit-fire delivery that they possess.
The complete randomness of the album meanwhile feels much more cohesive in its entirety, similar to when listening something by say quasimoto, mr. bungle, or beck. In this way i find its superior to their previos 2 efforts before this as the randomness was done in chunks: hip hop song, jazzy/funk instrumental, punk song, etc. With Hello Nasty everything is blended and their is far greater attention to detail. Very few things feel out of place, and the heavy layering involved allows new sounds to emerge and be noticed on repeated listens.
I do agree that it is quite long though, but this is probably their 2nd best after Paul's Boutique
This deserves to be rated so much higher. there's so many forgotten gems on here; super disco breakin, the move, remote control, Intergalactic, puttin shame in your game, negotiation limerick file, electrify, 3 mc's and unite are tremendous tracks.This Message Edited On 10.16.06
I grew up on this record, so obviously I'm less than objective, but I still am marveled by teh production values of this record, compared even to the majority of modern day hip hop. Who ever up there said their charisma is rare today was spot on. The beastie boys, despite being three Jewish kids (I dont mean that in a racist way...), acchived something rare, popular recognition and artistic integerity. Yes, in retrospective some aspects of the album seem a little silly and dated, but it dosen't demean the trememdous moments of pure adolescent badassedry. I mean come on, Intergalactic? 2.5 five stars? Mabye my perspective is a tad askew, but I personally rank this at a substantial lattitude on my favorite records ever list.