I think what I like about this album the most is how hard the Beasties make you work, consistently, to get into one of their new offerings. Each album is different in a way you likely wouldn't have expected.
Take their previous three albums:
- Hello Nasty (1998) - Sci-fi inspired, electronically laced, and awesome.
- To The 5 Boroughs (2004) - Simpler arrangements, less production and awesome.
- The Mix-Up (2007) - This is an instrumental album from a rap group. Yup. You heard me.
Which brings us to HSCP2, with its heavy voice effects, noisy layering and driving percussion all over the place, it's a new step, and one that maybe only the Beastie Boys could pull off with this much chutzpah.
#6 - The Black Keys - El Camino
After the atom bomb of rock that was Brothers, it was up in the air whether people would still be too wrapped up in it to give El Camino the attention it so richly deserves, and although critics have taken to it like Mayans to human sacrifice (too soon?), a lot of people aren't ready to bump Brothers from its heavy rotation spot just yet.
But they should. Once again, The Black Keys prove that you don't need the bells and whistles of rock production, a huge mini-orchestra (I'm looking at you, highly overrated Arcade Fire), or a crippling reliance on exhausted, recycled, cliched rock riffs and lyrics (you know who you are, Theory of a Nickel Creed bands) to make it in music today.
The imagined conversation that must have happened somewhere along the line in the youths of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney:
"You: learn guitar. You: learn drums. Good. Now, make something that nobody will ever want to stop listening do."
And then they did. Twice.