The Mix-Up review by Beastie Boys

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  • Released: Jun 26, 2007
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (26 votes)
Beastie Boys: The Mix-Up
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Sound — 8
The Beastie Boys bear little resemblance musically to the young, loud, and brash rappers they were back when Fight For Your Right (To Party) came out in 1986. Something has definitely changed the perspective Ad-Rock, MCA, and Mike D -- whether it was MCA finding Buddhism or the sampling lawsuit back in 2003 -- and the latest album is proof of that transformation. The Mix-Up is an album that would easily fit as the soundtrack from a hipster flick from the '70s, and not a word is spoken or sung throughout any of it. Yes, the rappers are going all instrumental this time around. Although the trio decided to create music digitally on it's last album To The 5 Boroughs, going instrumental isn't necessarily a huge jump for The Beastie Boys, who have gained respect for playing the instruments that back up their raps. The Mix-Up is an extension of what they've been creating for years, and it is a fascinating listen. There is definitely a vintage feel to the record thanks to the '70s style organ that is implemented into most of the tracks, but the band does find ways to avoid monotony setting in from song to song. The opening track B For My Name sets the stage perfectly by featuring what sounds like layer upon layer of cool keyboard and organ lines. All the while, the bass, drums and provide a funky background to it all. B For My Name definitely sets a mood, and that mood would definitely be a mellow, martini-drinking one. Other tracks have a more familiar feel to the backup tracks they've used on some of their past rap tunes. In fact, if you were to eliminate the lyrics from The Beastie Boys' hit So What'cha Want, you'd have a better idea of what a few of the instrumentals sound like on The Mix-Up. The guitar does get it's time to take center stage in songs like 14th Street Break, but even then it is only to strictly carry the melody. It's basically replacing the line that could be sung by a vocalist and never gets as elaborate as some of the keyboard solos. The most guitar solo work you'll hear on The Mix-Up is on Off The Grid, which starts out with a very clean guitar playing subtle blues licks and eventually is given a sonic feel through the use of some very effective distortion.

Lyrics — 8
As you might have guessed, this section is obsolete. Not a word is rapped, and it's up to the music to tell the story.

Overall Impression — 8
For the fans that are desperate for the vocals to return, you're in luck. The band is apparently planning on releasing another version of the album with a pretty wide array of new vocalists, according to Mike D. Now it's hard to say if these guest vocalists will be given more of the focus than the Beastie Boys' rapping, but it should still be interesting to see what they do with the already elaborate songs. Using everything from good old fashion jam sessions to inserting a bit of sitar along the way, the band has created a rich, layered sound that you'll need at least a few listens to digest. The album does ooze the word cool, but that hipster vibe may not click with all audiences out there. It's a pretty big leap from what the Beastie Boys have created in the past, and that was very likely the purpose behind The Mix-Up.

26 comments sorted by best / new / date

    guywithguitar
    Um, I'm pretty sure an 8 was given for the lyrics so it wouldn't alter the Overall Album rating. You guys read into things too much :p
    skull277
    omegasus wrote: Awful. I haven't heard it, but to me, what defines the Beastie Boys are they're awesome lyrics. They're so funny in their music, instrumental songs are not good unless you're something like NIN, where they're kind of serious. Such a bad idea.
    no, the lyrics dont define the beastie boys, its the tracks they rap over aswell, this is basicly another check your head without lyrics, and im loving it. as for giving 8 for th lyrics, I duno, yes it hsouldnt have a rating but tbh liek its been said, the music makes the lyrics
    Joetime
    Its good. I listen to it all the time. Its different, and something I didn't expect. Check it out.
    Reviewer Pete
    JL Sevenfold wrote: guywithguitar wrote: Um, I'm pretty sure an 8 was given for the lyrics so it wouldn't alter the Overall Album rating. You guys read into things too much :p he's pretty much got it right, just take the averages of the other parts of the CD and use that as the rating for lyrics, that way it is basically turned into "n/a" because it is a nonfactor then. That's what I would do at least.
    So it seems, but n/a would've been a less confusing option.
    stumaster18
    No singing? Shouldnt be called The Beastie Boys...change the band name to "Mixing Board" hahah I crack myself up
    Kartman
    I want to hear this album really bad. All their instrumental stuff in the past has been pseudo acid Jazz-funk, and I'm really into that groove that they deliver. Listen to Ricky's Theme, you'll see what I'm talking about.
    JL Sevenfold
    guywithguitar wrote: Um, I'm pretty sure an 8 was given for the lyrics so it wouldn't alter the Overall Album rating. You guys read into things too much :p
    he's pretty much got it right, just take the averages of the other parts of the CD and use that as the rating for lyrics, that way it is basically turned into "n/a" because it is a nonfactor then. That's what I would do at least.
    omegasus
    Awful. I haven't heard it, but to me, what defines the Beastie Boys are they're awesome lyrics. They're so funny in their music, instrumental songs are not good unless you're something like NIN, where they're kind of serious. Such a bad idea.
    lagraine666
    really really good music !!!good album 8/10 for sure. and for youre blabla about the lyrics it'swritten the music tell the story!!
    ConAmoreEFuoco
    There are no lyrics. The song's lyrics cannot be rated, as there are none. Either it should be 0 (if the song is being rated as compared to other songs), or "n/a" (as this is a different type of rating system for songs without lyrics). It should not be 5, because song with really bad lyrics could (in theory) get a score less than 5, and really bad lyrics should be counted as better lyrics than no lyrics at all. I suggest "n/a".
    El Jordo
    ConAmoreEFuoco wrote: How can you give the record an 8 for lyrics, without lyrics? It should be a 0, honestly.
    wow talk about negatvie attiutude
    scarfacesuit
    Slash_HuDsOn wrote: ^ i get where its coming from, either it should be a 0 or 10 ten if not just write N/A
    you can't really write it N/A on the reviews. he probably thought the entire album deserved a solid 8 and if he'd have put 0, then it would look like the album sucked. that's the only thing he could really do.
    ordino
    i think the lyrics should be 5 as if ther are no lyrics how can it be bad or good
    Absent Mind
    Slash_HuDsOn wrote: ^ i get where its coming from, either it should be a 0 or 10 ten if not just write N/A
    Not necessarily, the song can convey emotion quite well (say 8 points) but could still be better.
    NorCalLos
    Melody can be just as lyrical as words, sometimes more if the "lyrics" are lame. Turn on, tune out kids...open your supple minds... Haha.
    electric7
    when i read that it's going to be all instrumental, i almost died. but still. hope it's good.
    xero1123
    about the whole lyrics thing. This is music, music doesnt need lyrics. In my opinion, lyrics are just another poem until you put music to it
    Slash_HuDsOn
    ^ i get where its coming from, either it should be a 0 or 10 ten if not just write N/A
    SineRider
    ConAmoreEFuoco wrote: How can you give the record an 8 for lyrics, without lyrics? It should be a 0, honestly.
    You know, sometimes music can speak louder then words, well for me at least.
    nitro329
    Great CD!!!!! It got a Grammy for the best instrumental album of the year!!!!! Perfect CD to bring me up when i'm feeling down!