Since I started this blog I’ve noticed I’ve evolved two types of listening there’s BL and LL. let me explain.
Blog Listening: this involves picking something off the shelves at random, for alphabetical reasons, because I thought about something silly I could write about it on the train home etc. I then listen to it twice as per the rules (you just gotta have your rules going on!), nodding appreciatively/wincing at my youthful folly, sometimes even making notes. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m the obsessive type; a certain amount of this is my idea of a good time, but it can get to be a bit of a bind sometimes, especially when you get to the end of Side 1 and nothing has grabbed you worth writing about – it also stops me reading.
Listening Listening: same as above except without the notes and fiddly stuff – can do whilst reading.
So you see, sometimes when I pick an LP it’s a natural thing, other times its forced. I was on my second play (LL) of today’s victim before I thought, ‘Hey 1537* this would make a good one to write about’, to which I responded ‘Push off you maniac, I’m ironing’. At the time I was ironing and swaying along arrhythmically to Beastie Boys The In Sound From Way Out! and damn good it was too – the music that is, my ironing is decidedly average.
Released in 1998, at a time when Beastie Boys were treading water a bit, to my mind I held out until Summer 1999 before succumbing to this LP, my arguments ran along the, very valid, lines that because they were my favourite band I already had every tune on this LP, did I really want an instrumental Beastie Boys LP anyway? and wasn’t this just an exploitative release – packaging the same old stuff with a flashy new cover and milking extra money out of the fans? all true, but hey I was a goner anyway. So one day when my resistance was low I found myself in the shop with a copy of The In Sound From Way Out! and thought ‘damn! that’s a good cover – check out those fancy French sleeve notes on the back!’.
All so far, so exploited, but this is a good LP in its own right. Okay so, with the exception of a couple of B-sides, these tunes can all be heard better on the mighty Check Your Head and Ill Communication, but they still sound good compiled like this. There is some fun to be had messing with your head when you’ve listened to the source LPs so many thousand times when, say ‘Pow’ is not followed by ‘The Maestro’ as expected. But anyway this would just be a rank cash-in if the music were not so good.
Kicking off with ‘Ricky’s Theme’ this LP just starts with the mellowest track here, I absolutely love it, I’ve heard them play this track brilliantly live a few times too, so it catapults me straight into a good place with its post-coital gentle funk groove. When I inevitably land my own TV show ‘Ricky’s Theme’ will become my theme tune too. I like the way the ‘…theme’ bit of the title is a knowing nod to all those fabulous cuts on LP’s like Isaac Hayes Shaft. I won’t go through track-by-track because it’s all good, let’s face it if you’ve ever fantasized about being the star of your own superfly-sploitation movie, these are the tunes you’d cruise the streets of New York to, it’s a given.
Listening to The In Sound From Way Out! I am struck again by just how amazingly good the Beastie Boys go-to percussion man Eric Bobo was, a very underrated component of their sound at this point – he really stood out when I saw them live too and he deservedly gets writing credits on the most percussion led tracks such as ‘Son of Neckbone’ and the unearthly sounding ‘Shambala’. Also Money Mark, or Mark Ramos Nishita to give him his full dues, is brilliant throughout playing his tasteful porn-soundtrack keyboards throughout (if that’s not an oxymoron!) and again he gets a writing credit on every tune here, underlining his importance. Not that the Boys themselves were any slouches either by this point.
The sound the Beastie Boys had at the time was just perfection and for me they managed the rare trick of being achingly cool but not smug or exclusive, you got the sense we were all very welcome to join in, which is no mean feat, but they blew it for me with their next proper LP Hello Nasty, which I still don’t own, but I am glad I forked out my hard-earned for this one.
It’s damn fine music to iron to as well.
P.S – the last track, ‘Drinkin’ Wine’ is rubbish!
*like all good monomaniacs I have recently started talking about myself in the third person; at this rate I reckon I’m only a year away from constructing an underground lair.