Giving The Beastie Boys' Hello Nasty another shot after a dozen years

I remember Hello Nasty's release with remarkable clarity. I was working as a pizza-cook in Lyons -- my boss, a pseudo-ex-hipster type with a goatee and a drinking problem bought the album the day in came out. He was a huge Beastie Boys fan, as well as an unfortunate influence on my musical taste at the time. Being young and stupid I took his word on a lot of things, one of which happened to be that Hello Nasty was crap.

It's embarrassing how long I've gone without thinking twice about this. When people would ask what my favorite Beastie Boys album was I would always reply, "Paul's Boutique." Actually, Paul's Boutique is still my favorite Beastie Boys album, but that's beside the point. The point is, I've never given Hello Nasty a reasonable shot at being anything more than a bunch of old dudes trying to capture their youth, simply because some dude once told me it sucked.

Maybe it's because I'm older now, maybe I'm wiser -- or maybe it's just the fact the Beastie Boys have a new album coming out this year -- but I've had the desire to listen to Hello Nasty coming at me in waves over the course of the last few weeks. Maybe the Beastie Boys remind me of springtime for some reason. Perhaps it was my low-expectations, but as far as I can tell, Hello Nasty is as solid and coherent as any Beastie Boys album can ever be -- and it's got a bit more maturity and wisdom than anything else they'd done. Oh, and I'm a sucker for pretty much any song about space, so there's that too.

To be perfectly honest, I actually had to look up whether Hello Nasty was the last Beastie Boys release (it's not by the way), and maybe in ten years I'll give To the 5 Burroughs a shot too. Anyway, Hello Nasty has a lot of stand-out tracks and actually markets a fairly progressive sound. Sure, this isn't DJs and classic hip-hop, but in hindsight, it was remarkably ahead of its time. It's been laptops making danceable hip-hop and using electronic beats ever since.

The funny thing is that the Beastie Boys actually use older instruments to make new sounds, a Roland 808 makes an appearance on "Super Disco Breakin'" and "Intergalactic" samples the Toxic Avenger theme music. Hello Nasty is essentially the 1980s version of the future. This is what we thought music would sound like in the year 2000 -- and the Beastie Boys delivered.

I'm assuming that any real Beastie Boys fan probably enjoyed Hello Nasty, and to this day, I'm not entirely certain why my boss was so against the album. It's even more curious that I never bothered second-guessing my ridiculous and completely unfounded opinion until recently. Either way, I'm glad I did, because this is totally my summer jam. Sure, it's twelve years old, but who the hell cares? It sounds fresh as the daisies popping up in my lawn.

How about you? Is there an album from your teen years you inexplicably hated that you've given another shot?

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Thorin Klosowski
Contact: Thorin Klosowski