The last time we heard from the Beastie Boys was in May of ’95 with their
money grab EP, Root Down, which even though it seemed ridiculous to put together a whole EP based around a single from an album released a year prior (it also felt like a desperate attempt to keep the Beastie buzz going, which is kind of ironic coming from a group that regularly took three year breaks in between albums), it actually wasn’t bad, even if it didn’t bring anything new or beneficial to the table (you can read my complete analysis of the Root Down EP riiiight here). So what would the Beastie Boys do next? Yep, you guessed it. Slap us in the face with another EP.
Aglio E Olio, which literally means “olive oil and garlic” in Italian, is an eight song, eleven minute long EP that finds the Beastie Boys returning to their punk rock roots. I’ve never listened to Aglio E Olio before today and none of the songs on the tracklist look familiar, so hopefully the music sounds better than the cheesy artwork looks.
Brand New – Aglio E Olio begins with frantic guitar licks and intense drums that BB use to scream the hook, while Ad-Rock semi-raps the same verse twice and they slide in a few brash guitar solos. I wasn’t crazy about this one, but it wasn’t terrible.
Deal With It – This one starts off sounding like it’s going to be a deep groove driven by guitar licks. Then reality sets in and our hosts continue to rock out and yell the life out of their larynxes. I actually read the lyrics on Genius.com while listening, and the song actually has some decent lyrics. It’s too bad everything else about the song sucked.
Believe Me – Next…
Nervous Assistant – Whether rhyming over beat breaks or screaming over rock riffs, the Beastie Boys are consistent about one thing: it’s nearly impossible to make out what the hell they’re saying.
Square Wave In Unison – This shit is giving me a headache.
You Catch A Bad One – Be right back…gotta grab my bottle of Advil.
I Cant Think Straight – Ad-Rock rhymes over another Beastie mash up that all sounds like a bunch of noise.
I Want Some – The last song on Aglio E Olio features…yep, you guessed it: More loud rock guitar riffs, intense drums and BB screaming all over them. I kind of enjoyed the chord change during the bridge of this song, but other than that, there’s not much to see here, folks. Apparently, there were some versions of Aglio E Olio released with two bonus songs: “Soba Violence” and “Light My Fire”. Thank God, my copy doesn’t have those bonus tracks, so I can end this write up right now.
Since I’m not a fan of rock and even less of punk, I was hoping that the Boys Beastie would put a hip-hop spin on their original chosen genre, but they didn’t. Aglio E Olio is eleven minutes of the Beastie Boys screaming uncontrolled and unintelligibly over loud repetitive guitar riffs and drums, and this eleven minutes felt like eternity; a very unenjoyable eternity. Needless to say, Aglio E Olio is not my cup of tea, garlic water or bottle of olive oil.