The Beastie Boys: Sounds of Science


The Beastie Boys: Anthology Sounds of Science
Label: Grand Royal
Release Date: 1999
Recording Date: 1982+
Review Date: 2001

“Best of” releases generally annoy the crap out of me. Especially when a group hasn’t even re-released it’s vinyl offerings on cd. I know it’s economics, but it sucks. Another thing that bugs me is when a band that is still current releases a “best of” record. That’s usually a sign of impending decline (See the red Hot Chilli Peppers) Now that we’ve established that “best of” and so called “anthologies” are lame, let’s talk about why The Sounds of Science is pretty darn good.

First off, it’s cheap. It’s a well packaged 2 disc set with a thick booklet in a soft case instead of a landfill destined jewel case. At Best Buy it was selling for under $20 bucks. It seems to be a pretty low-key release, which may be a reason for the low price. Or, maybe the Beastie Boys are taking a hit on the royalties untill it covers extra production costs just as the Clash did with the triple LP release of “Sandanista!”, which did quite well n the long run. Whatever the reason it means more money in your pocket.

Second point: it’s got a pretty good selection of tunes. I’m not an obsessive fan. I’ve got an early single on vinyl (She’s on it!) and all the major releases on CD, but I don’t have any singles or import releases outside of the “Some Old Bullshit” compilation. The selection is fairly representative of the span of the Beastie Boys catalogue with a handfull of singles, alternates and unreleased tunes. It would be a lot stronger without “Fight for Your Right to Party” and the occasional hardcore ditty. “Cookie Puss” is oddly absent. Weaknesses aside, it’s still a strong collection. I’m partial to throwawy numbers like “Country Mike”, “Boomin’ Granny”, “Bennie and the Jets” and other tracks that are pure self indulgence for the band on the one hand, but highly entertaining on the other hand.

Third point: The booklet is a must have for anyone who’s more than a casual fan. It remains interesting even if you’ve only got fond memories associated with the old tunes. The many pages are sprinkled with a healthy dose of candid and posed band photos, but the real value is in the anecdotes directly related to individual tracks on each disc. What’s even better is the all-vinyl release that I assume comes with a vinyl-sized version of book. At over $100, it’s not as huge of a bargain.

The combination of song selection, packaging, low price and entertaining booklet make this a no-brainer. I like what those boys are doing, especially over at What’s not to like, really? They’re at a point in their career where they can pretty much do whatever they want instead of being forced to think about remaining in the pulic buiying concious. The work they’re involved with shows it.

Online Action:

Crap. Grand Royal is closing it’s doors. That sucks, but they are having a going out of business sale. Check it out.

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