Beastie Boys
Ill Communication


3.5
great

Review

by Holland, 1945. USER (13 Reviews)
September 23rd, 2005 | 28 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist


The Beastie Boys make me smile.

With every record, the Beastie Boys reinvent themselves, even if it is only slightly. Sometimes, they take huge leaps from album to album, like License to Ill to Pual's Boutique. That was a big one, wasn't it? The Beastie Boys are the Becks of the hip-hop world, constantly changing and adding different elements to their music, but yet you always know that it's them. Whether it be their call-and-response rapping that they do so greatly, or their fantastic production values, the Beastie Boys are easily one of the greatest hip-hop groups to ever emerge. This album certainly does not go agasint this fact. Here, the Beasties continue their studio experimentations that began with their Paul's Boutique and Check Your Head. This time, though, it is a truly eclectic, and sometimes breathtaking, piece of wonderful, wonderful music.

It is evident throughout Ill Communication that the Beasties are more creative than what you would originally have thought from their previous albums. Genres including trip-hop, 70s pimp-film funk, hardcore, atonal violen pieces, fuzzed-out metal rampages, and choirs are integrated and mized together flawlessly. Sometimes, the songs even blend together and form some sort of long, winding piece of genre-soup. Many of the songs contain studio musicians, and the Beastie Boys themselves, playing instruments. This gives the album a very natural, warm vibe that some of their albums have tended to lack in some cases. Even when they do bust out a few old-schoolers, they bury the rapping so far into the mix that it adds more to the rhythm of the songs and the overall feel. Slightly obscure samples pop in randomly, most sounding very familiar, the most famous (and controversial) being the flute sample in "Flute Loop". It still amazes me that they can combine so many different styles into one album, and yet they all retain a similar sound and cohesiveness that most bands could never do.

Ill Communication, though, has it's faults, especially when it comes to the two hardcore songs "Tough Guy" and "Heart Attack Man". Though they are powerful and raging pieces of hardcore-punk, they lack that certain feel that the rest of the album has, and this is where the Beasties stumble a little bit. Not only this, but the songs stand out from the other songs. That isn't a good thing. They have also seem to have grown out of (somewhat) the sarcastic, snotty lyrics that they are most well known for. "Bodhisattva View" is a nod to Buddhist spirituality, buried in a dense wall of music, with the vocals mixed way down, just like the rest of the albu m. The music also serves as an increase in maturity, also. Instrumentals are abundant on this album, ranging from funk that could be in Sahft to atonal violin pieces (!). Though one would consider these experimentations useless, they allow breaks between the normal songs, and add a good dose of variety too. Many of the songs even have a wall of reverb, similar to the dub stylings of Lee "Scratch" Perry, you could say. Best of all, though, is the most well known song from Ill Communication, "Sabotage". It rocks with a fiery vengeance, with abrasive shouting and a wall of "noise", and that bass riff! What's even better about the song is the hilarious cop-show parody video, which is required viewing for anyone.

And as Douglas Wolk stated in his Amazon.com review:

"Ill Communication is pretty much a catalog of coolness"



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user ratings (656)
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4
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Jawaharal
September 23rd 2005


1832 Comments


I love the beastie boys
This is my least favorite beastie album, but it's still awesome.

Zesty Mordant
September 23rd 2005


1196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review, this is probably my 3rd favorite album by the beasties after Paul's Boutique and Hello Nasty.

Though songs like "Sure Shot", "Root Down" and "Flute Loop" make the album, there are two things that I don't like about it: 1) the flow of the songs from one another is very rough 2) the reverb/distortion-heavy vocals get annoying after awhile- you can't hear a damn thing they're saying.

Brownie Dude
December 20th 2005


11 Comments


I love the first half of this cd, then get bored as hell as soon track 10 comes on. There's just too many songs for me.

Zebra
Moderator
December 20th 2005


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This album is meh. It pails in comparison to other Beastie Boys material.

20 tracks can also be overbearing, I haven't listened to this in ages.

barosjn
December 20th 2005


501 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I can stand 23 tracks on an album at most.

MyRamona
March 23rd 2006


1090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really enjoy this album. Musically It's awesome, and I'd give it quite a few points for having such an original style. I love the way they went back to playing hardcore, (much like Pollywog Stew) Tough guy and Heart-attack man are great songs.

MyRamona
April 14th 2006


1090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're right though, 23 tracks is a bit heavy.

John Paul Harrison
June 19th 2007


1014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i like the album.

hip-hop with live drums + upright jazz bass = winning combination.

HonestJake
July 31st 2007


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Listen all yall it's a sabotage...

BallsToTheWall
January 3rd 2008


44785 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sabotage is the shit. The perfect song to beast out to.

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

stoopkid
March 19th 2008


326 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty great album. Love the instrumentals.

gaber01
March 19th 2008


112 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ahhhhh this is my favorite album by them. And Get it Together is just so perfect. It makes me laugh.

Phatwoodz
January 2nd 2009


7 Comments


1, 2 oh my god.

I love this album, I bought it used tho xD
10 bucks for a 23 track song, thats a pretty sweet deal.

NeroCorleone80
August 4th 2010


29875 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Beastie Boys are the only hip-hop I can stand. Pretty good album.

random
September 9th 2010


2268 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

'Cause you can't, you won't and you don't stop!

Urinetrouble
October 15th 2010


5764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

SureShot is so fucking awesome

NightProwler
September 20th 2011


6539 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If the second half of this album didn't weaken as much as it does in comparison to the first, I'd 4 it - instead I'm gonna have to 3,5 it, unfortunately. Sabotage, Sure Shot and the instrumentals are awesome, though!

Digging: Astpai - Burden Calls

SCREAMorphine
February 12th 2012


1761 Comments


Badass

Athom
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2012


17224 Comments


Best Beastie Boys album.

ultradevilgod
May 7th 2012


232 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

RIP Adam!



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