Song of the Day: Check Your Head (again!)

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

After completing Paul's Boutique -- the impeccable, sample-laden rap masterpiece -- the Beastie Boys dropped an album that again reinvented their image, solidified their reputation as innovators and rocked a thousand parties from Brooklyn to the Bay Area. In many ways, Check Your Head, released in 1992, was a bridge between the party hip-hop that made them stars and the raw studio instrumentation that made them so influential over the years.

Check Your Head proved that the Beastie Boys would shift shapes at will -- and do it well. No band in history has made people dance in so many different ways. That is their legacy.

This album was darker and more focused than Boutique, and it finally began to borrow from their native New York's avant-garde spirit -- the dimly-lit sense that these tunes are first and foremost for those in the know. It's been characterized in many ways, but this sound was theirs alone: a wild stream of grooves that came from various sources and in various forms. There's the live-sounding party vibe of "Jimmy James," acid jazz in "Groove Holmes," straight-forward punk of "Time for Livin'" and punchy goofs like "The Maestro."

The re-issue out this week includes a remastered edition of the album, along with B-sides and bonus tracks. The entire thing is streaming at the link above.