I must confess that I only have one Beastie Boys album (yeah yeah, I know). I got Ill Communication on CD way back in ’94/’95. It came in the mail from Columbia House (remember them?) along with Cypress Hill, Temple of the Dog, Throwing Copper, and Exile in Guyville and I can’t even remember what else.
To me, Ill Communication is one of those albums that confirmed everything Sgt. Pepper taught us: that at some point in a band’s life, they have to make one experimental/eclectic/really-out-there album, and boy did they. I know “Sabotage” is everyone’s favorite, but what really sticks with me are the instrumentals, especially the aptly titled closer “Transitions”. If the death of old bad habits and the birth of new opportunities had a sound, it would be that song. Other favorites are “The Update” and “Bodhisattva Vow” where Adam Yauch speaks of his practice of Buddhism. It’s quite a statement for three of music’s notorious pop culture wise-asses to craft an album like this: a dense and varied opus that ranges from the fun and irreverent to the serious and spiritual.
Thank you Adam. You will be sorely missed.
“For the rest of my lifetimes and even beyond,
I vow to do my best, to do no harm,
and in the times of doubt I can think on the dharma
and the enlightened ones who’ve graduated Samsara.” – Beastie Boys, “Bodhisattva Vow”