Related Articles: Music, All

The Beastie Boys - The Mix-Up

Released on Capitol, 6/26/07

The Beastie Boys are inarguably one of the most dynamic, influential groups of hip hop/rock musicians. The one thing you can be certain of when giving a Beastie Boys album a listen is that youíre going to hear more than a few tracks that feel like a marked departure from what theyíve done in the past. However, one common thread that unites many Beastie Boys albums is an affinity for instrumental music. Check Your Head was an album with numerous tracks that were pretty light when it came to lyrics and heavy on the instrumentals. With The Mix-Up, the B-Boys have completely indulged this affinity with a pure instrumental album.

"B For My Name" gets things rolling with a somewhat plodding bounciness that stays fixed almost exclusively on the mid-tempo path. Thereís nothing exceptional about this first track, but thereís much in it that will likely sound familiar to anyone whoís listened to a Beastie Boys album before. "B for My Name" (along with the majority of the other tracks) clearly reflects the myriad influences that have shaped the Beastie Boys sound.

"Suco De Tangerina" has a beat that could easily be mistaken for a Matisyahu track. One canít help but wonder what kind of magic an amalgamation of Matisyahu and the Beastie Boys could make. "Suco De Tangerina" descends into a somewhat deeper groove than "B For My Name" and has a sound that is emblematic of roughly a third of the tracks that comprise The Mix-Up.

Departing a bit from the two aforementioned tracks, "Off The Grid" brings a sound that is decidedly less chill. This one blossoms time and again with a series of pulsating riffs that builds continuously throughout the relatively short two and a half minute track. "Off The Grid" is one of the finest tracks of this instrumental set, a veritable celebration of the instrumental groove.

Unfortunately, there is far too little variation from track to track overall in The Mix-Up. Trying to discern one track from the next isnít exactly a walk in the park. This leads to a certain amount of tedium after listening to the 4th or 5th track in a row that is down tempo, mellow, and devoid of lyrics. There are times when the album just feels like a glorified acid jazz show. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing when in the right mood.

The Mix-Up isnít a bad album, but compared against some of the Beastie Boys best albums (To The Five Boroughs, Hello Nasty, Ill Communication), this instrumental album pales somewhat. But, for those who loved the instrumental tracks from Check Your Head and Ill Communication, you wonít be disappointed. This meandering mix of eclectic instrumental tracks has a certain mellow charm that goes well with a dimly lit lounge and a few too many cocktails.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars