When hearing that the Beastie Boys were putting out a greatest hits album, I was pretty excited. After seeing the song list for the album, I was slightly less excited. The Beastie Boys are the BEASTIE BOYS, but this compilation of the last 20 years could have been much more than it ends up being, which is unfortunate.
Fans of the Beastie Boys fall into one of two categories: hardcore, and casual. If you are a hardcore Beastie's fan, you no doubt have their comprehensive 1999 compilation The Sound of Science. This collection of songs, however, is much 'safer', relegating it to many of the band's radio hits from over the years. Granted, those songs are good, but it seems the band is releasing this collection from the standpoint of trying to remember the days that they were unstoppable, rather than a band that seems to be on their last leg.
Another thing that makes this album only passable is their inclusion of 3 songs from their debut, Licensed To Ill. Granted, they were young, and it's probably true that some of their fans weren't even born when that album was recorded. But the songs are terrible. The production was terrible, and while it's true that "Fight For Your Right" put them on the map, we didn't necessarily need any other material from a debut that was so-so at best.
While from a different genre, this release is reminiscent of last year's Greatest Hits compilation by Guns N Roses. A release that will appeal to radio fans, but leave the hardcore fans of the group wanting something more, or foregoing the release altogether. There are definitely some of the Beastie Boys best songs here, but there are MANY songs that would have better done a greatest hits cd justice.