When I was 14 years old the Beastie Boys had just released their classic Licensed to Ill, an album that would go on to be one of the top-selling rap albums of the 1980s. A nationwide tour followed, and when the Beastie Boys came through my hometown, I wanted desperately to go. Alas, Mom didn’t share my love for the party anthems of Licensed, and she had no intention of allowing her boy to attend a rap show complete with inflatable phallic symbols and dancing go-go girls. Things change, though, and so did the Beastie Boys.
Like yesterday’s lasagna, the Beastie Boys have gotten tastier with time. And with the release of the band’s seventh full album, The Mix-Up, these once-upon-a-time bad boys have come of age. Their latest features all instrumental jams, much like the ones sampled on their earlier efforts, and is markedly more inventive than their last all-instrumental, 1996’s The In Sound From Way Out. Pulling from early-’70s funk and reaching out into strange bossa nova explorations, The Mix-Up might not blow you away or leave you repeating the band’s usually clever lyrical hooks, but it certainly satisfies this fan’s grown-up cravings. (Al Pils)