Music News

Beastie Boys

Groups that have put out excellent music in the past aren't only competing with other current discs when they unleash a new album. They're also going up against themselves — and by that measure, The Mix-Up falls way short.

Admittedly, the Beasties didn't set out to issue another Ill Communication. Their latest features twelve funky yet decidedly low-key instrumentals — and the likes of "Electric Worm" are generally pleasant. Still, Mix-Up isn't a casual goof the Boys put on their website as a freebie download or fan-club special. It's their first significant release since 2004's To the 5 Boroughs. And if all they could come up with in the three years since then is mildly enjoyable filler, these guys are either out of fresh ideas or overloaded with pre-owned ones.

A generally positive review on AllMusic. com calls this CD "a good, rewarding path for the Beastie Boys as they approach middle age" — a double-edged compliment if ever there was one. Better that they grow old disgracefully than fight for the right to be innocuous.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts