REVIEW: Beastie Boys – Aglio e Olio (1995)


BEASTIE AGLIOBEASTIE BOYSAglio e Olio (1995 Grand Royal EP)

The sticker on the front said it plainly:  “Only 8 songs. Only 11 minutes. Only cheap $.”  Retailers were known to jack up prices on CDs so the Beasties were proactive about making sure their fans didn’t get ripped off.  It’s kinda like how Metallica called their Garage Days the $5.98 EP.

This EP is one of the Beasties’ punk rock releases.  Apparently, while writing for Hello Nasty (1998), the group spontaneously just started jamming out old school punk style rockers.  There were too many to put on their next rap album, so they decided to release them quick n’ dirty on a special EP.  And that’s Aglio e Olio.

What I find cool about it is that even if you didn’t know who it was, it’s immediately obvious on opener “Brand New” that it’s the Beastie Boys.  It doesn’t sound musically much like their mainstream hits but their idiosyncratic voices make it instantly identifiable.  Then you notice things like the noisy guitar “solos” that take the place of record scratches and samples (similar to “Sabotage”)…it’s a different instrument but the same artists so there is a connectivity.

BEASTIE AGLIO BACK“Deal With It” is the second-longest song at a whopping almost-2 minutes!  It’s a freakin’ crusher of a song.  “I Can’t Think Straight” reminds me of early Suicidal Tendencies. The rest are a mash of screamin’ Beasties, heavy guitar riffs, crushing bass, and sloppyfast punk rock drums.  Throw in a few weird breaks and time changes and you have a varied and enjoyable way to kill 11 minutes of your day.  The bass hooks are relentless and the lyrics all but unintelligible!

Best track: the hooky closer “I Want Some” which I think is hit quality. Fucking great song on which to close a fucking great little EP.

But what exactly does Aglio e Olio mean?  Fortunately, I am Italian.  Aglio e olio is my favourite pasta dish, a simple spaghetti.  It is just the pasta in olive oil and garlic.  It is simple, delicious, and easy to prepare once you learn the trick of it.  Its appeal is the simplicity of just three ingredients: spaghetti, olive oil and garlic.  Three ingredients, right down to the basics.  Just like the Beastie Boys.

4/5 stars

  • MCA – Vocals, bass
  • Mike D – Vocals, drums
  • Ad-Rock – Vocals, guitars

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