My listening isn’t going to be “normal” today; it couldn’t be. Aside from the fact that it’s a bank holiday and I’m planning on buying some records later rather than going to work like I’d usually do on a Monday, there’s also the added oddness of coordinating and promoting this whole music diary idea too. I’ll spend spare seconds all week tweeting about it, looking up the hashtag, linking to blogs and tumblrs that are taking part, as well as recording my own listening. There’s also my dodgy knee to consider – on a normal May bank holiday I’d go for a ride first thing, but it’s raining and I’d only want to go for a ride in the dry at the moment – I can’t risk a slip or slide or anything that might put my knee at risk.
So instead of being in the office listening to BBC Radio 6music, I’m in the livingroom, writing this blog post, and listening to Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 by Beastie Boys, because I’ve not listened to anything but Beastie Boys by choice since Friday afternoon when I found out that Adam Yauch had died.
I got HSCP2 at about the same time as Goblin by Tyler, The Creator. At the time I remember feeling let down by Goblin but thinking that HSCP2 was better than I expected. I listened to it half a dozen times and then didn’t really think about it again. Aside from playing Paul’s Boutique a few times at and around Devon Record Club in February, I’ve not really thought about the Beastie Boys since then. I assumed Adam Yauch was getting better, that his cancer was in remission, that they were past their 90s best but still a presence at the core of my cultural world, even if in the background now.
MCA’s passing has changed that, and brought them and their music to the forefront of my mind, and, judging by Twitter, Facebook, message boards, blogs, websites, and newspapers, to the forefront of a lot of other people’s minds, too. They were (are?) awesome, a massively important part not just of my own musical and cultural development but, more importantly, of my generation’s musical and cultural development, and, even more importantly again, a massively important part of mine and my generation’s personal development, too.
Because the Beastie Boys, and Yauch in particular, showed us that we could be goofy and love to party but also have a conscience, be compassionate, be sincere, and be loving too. Their music covers so much ground, emotionally, spiritually, and musically. I can’t think of many bands that reflected better what it’s like to be a rounded human being, with a sense of humour, a sense of anarchy, a sense of love, and a sense of social responsibility, and a sense of friendship too.
There’s a video of Coldplay covering (Fight) For Your Right (To Party) at a gig in Hollywood the other night; they, unsurprisingly, turn it into a boring, maudlin, everyman piano ballad, which strips all the energy and verve and life and fun from it. But, in the last 30 seconds or so, as Martin sings “mom you’re just jealous / it’s the Beastie Boys” and the crowd joins in with the last two words…
Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 is a pretty good record. Maybe really good.