Beastie Boys - Ill Communication (1994, 2009 Reissue)
Took me a while to understand the cultural impact of the Beasties. When Fight for Your Right (to Party) hit the charts in 1986, I dismissed them as mere fratboys not worthy of my oh-so-serious-and-indierocking attention. Their sophomore album Paul’s Boutique went completely under my radar (as was evidently the case for many others), and only when So What’cha Want from Check Your Head was put on heavy rotation by MTV in ‘92 did I realize that I needed to have a second look at what these guys were all about (which finally made me buy my first Beastie CD). However, when Ill Communication was released in 1994, the penny dropped for more black-clad people than me and Beastie Boys was suddenly the coolest band on the planet. Perfecting their trademark mix of hip-hop beats, hardcore attitude and jazzy organ funk (courtesy of Money Mark), the trio of Ad-Rock, Mike D and MCA perfectly caught the semi-ironic and semi-nostalgic zeitgeist of the X-generation on this record. At this point in time, of course, Generation X were slackers with attitude, raised in the seventies and eighties, coming of age in the nineties and less than a decade away from having a family (or at least a semi-family), a semi-boring day job and a semi-stylish designer-inspired home. I remember being on the dancefloor of an early hipster club in Stockholm when the dj put on Sabotage and everyone just went bananas. Surely one of the highlights of the nineties. And if I’m not much mistaken, the whole decade started going downhill from there.
Fun fact: The man on the cover is not an actor playing a terrorist with a bomb (which I thought for 20 years), but a guy ordering food at a Los Angeles drive-in diner in 1964.
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