Beastie Boys, "Sabotage"

>> Saturday, May 05, 2012





Rest in peace, Adam Yauch.

The Beastie Boys were maybe one of the most remarkable things to come out of the 1980s: a punk band that jumped into rap with an annoying albeit sometimes fun debut album and then morphing into an astonishingly versatile hip-hop-jazz-funk-punk-rock arthouse collective that was consistently one of the five most interesting things happening in popular music throughout the 1990s and much of the 2000s. I don't think anyone would have anticipated the band responsible for the fratty bratiness of "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)" would end up being not so much a band as an ongoing and long-running happening in the '60s artschool sense of the word (and in the most sincere and complimentary sense of that sense). Nor do I think anyone would have expected such a rowdy band to take such sincere and reflective stock of their political and philosophical positions as the Beasties did (e.g. Yauch, a Buddhist, doing as much legwork, awareness-generating and fundraising as he did for a free Tibet).

The band slowed down in the past decade because of Yauch's health problems--cancer. I wish I could say his passing was as unexpected as it was sudden, but when I read a friend's announcement of it on Facebook, it was sad but there was also that sense of resignation you feel when you hear bad news you didn't know you were expectantly waiting for. There is no mitigation for the loss to the music world, the culture, the causes he so patiently lobbied for and (does it need to be added?) his family and friends, but I think we all knew it was something coming, hoping and wishing it would be later instead of now, but knowing it couldn't be postponed forever.

He was a talented artist and by all accounts I ever heard a genuinely good man. It'd be nice if there were more like him. Thanks for it all, MCA.


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