Sunday, April 17, 2005

Retro: Illcommunication by The Beastie Boys and Rage Against the Machine

Two albums from the early Nineties when I was a student. Tracks from both albums were almost impossible to avoid then but apart from rock clubs you don't hear them so much now. It doesn't help that after Illcommunication the Beastie Boys needed G. Bush Jr. to get them back on track.

At first listen Illcommunication is the better listen, putting on a track or two it is easy to end up listening to the whole album. Rage Against the Machine on the other hand feels more like a singles album, all the hit singles are immediately likeable and time hasn't diminshed their raw power, rage and energy. Listening to the album though there is a definite comparision with the Beastie Boys more inventive and humourous musical invention. There's no denying RATM technical ability but they often fall back on the same riffs and ideas (I was also surprised to find out how much they owed to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers). Illcommunication still sounds fresh and surprising.

As an album of political polemic though RATM is still a raw slice of anger and a strong contrast to the stylish and slick BB production.

Both albums though have easily lasted the decade though and remain essential listening.

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