Check Your Head by Beastie Boys (1992)


This album stayed in the tape deck of my first car at all times, except for the occasional substitution of the ‘I Get Around’ cassette single and Lethal Injection. This is my flavor of Beastie Boys. You guys can have ‘Paul Revere’ and ‘Intergalactic’…I’ll take ‘Pass the Mic’ through 4-inch 1982 Volkswagen factory speakers any day of the week. Any Beastie Boys fan loves to talk about which album is their favorite, and the reason it’s a cool discussion is because the band has had 3 or 4 identity changes without missing a beat. Literally.

Check Your Head was the beginning of the era in which the Beastie Boys knew they could make real music. They removed the shackles of humor and rap, and started kicking some ass with this album. I’m sure there were plenty of doofuses wearing Adidas jumpsuits who hate-punched the Eject button when track #4 ‘Gratitude’ came on (and if that didn’t get them, ‘Time For Livin’ surely did). It’s a rock banger…a far cry from the bouncy party rap these guys established their fan base with. But those who stuck around for the ride were rewarded with a new band, made up of the same members. In recent years, the Beastie Boys have embraced their musical side and released a series of instrumental albums. Check Your Head was the baby step toward that modern identity. Instrumental tracks (or close enough, like ‘Lighten Up’) are laced throughout the record to show glimpses of the band’s future. And just when you think they’ve pussied out on you, they dropkick you in the face with ‘So Whatcha Want?’

This album takes me back to the original purpose of this blog…making sure that we don’t fail to appreciate the value of an “album” rather than looking at it as disjointed tracks that happened to be released together. Rather than endlessly name standout cuts from Check Your Head, we should look at it as a microcosm of the state of music in 1992. These guys were at the forefront of blending genres together, later popularized by artists like Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit (hey, they sold albums). A Bob Dylan sample in Finger Lickin Good?? Scratching records over bass guitars? And best of all…Biz Markie singing over Ted Nugent on electric guitar? Hell yes. My favorite track? ‘Stand Together’. Fast forward that shit to Side B, holmes!

I’m a mark for the Beastie Boys. Not afraid to admit it. Even when I haven’t been crazy about music they’ve released, I listen to it repeatedly until my brain has no choice but to surrender. They are gonna be the kind of band that our kids love or hate, like the way we feel about The Doors or James Brown. There’s not really any doubt or argument about their stamp on music, but that doesn’t mean everybody likes it. And if you don’t like it, you’re probably not giving it a chance, because this is some good ass music!

music turtle recommends: DOWNLOAD IT!

What do you think about this album? Comment below


One Response to “Check Your Head by Beastie Boys (1992)”

  1. 1 trojananteater

    you should write different things at the end instead of: download it, get some tracks. how about “kiss my ass” or “listen only if you can get a hold of some chronic” or “listen only if you are bluutered sp?” (please say with scottish accent) or use some WWE lines.

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