Ill Communication

Ill Communication is the fourth studio album by American hip-hop group Beastie Boys, released by Grand Royal Records on May 31, 1994. Co-produced by Beastie Boys and Mario Caldato, Jr., it is among the band's most varied releases, drawing from hip hop, punk rock, jazz, and funk, and continues their trend away from sampling and towards live instruments, which began with their previous release, Check Your Head (1992). The album features musical contributions from Money Mark, Eric Bobo and Amery "AWOL" Smith, and vocal contributions from Q-Tip and Biz Markie. Beastie Boys were influenced by Miles Davis' jazz rock albums On the Corner (1972) and Agharta (1975) while recording Ill Communication.[1]

Ill Communication
Beastie Boys Ill Communication.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 31, 1994 (1994-05-31)
Recorded1993–1994
StudioTin Pan Alley (New York City), G-Son (Atwater Village, California)
Genre
Length59:37
Label
Producer
Beastie Boys chronology
Check Your Head
(1992)
Ill Communication
(1994)
Hello Nasty
(1998)
Singles from Ill Communication
  1. "Sabotage"
    Released: January 28, 1994
  2. "Get It Together"
    Released: March 17, 1994
  3. "Sure Shot"
    Released: May 31, 1994
  4. "Root Down"
    Released: 1995

The album became the band's second number-one album on the US Billboard 200 chart and their second triple platinum album. It was supported by the single "Sabotage", which was accompanied by a music video directed by Spike Jonze that parodied 1970s cop shows.

SinglesEdit

"Sabotage" was the first single taken from Ill Communication. It was released on January 28, 1994, four months in advance of the album.[2] The backing track of the song was laid down by the band members, driven by MCA's fuzzed and twangy bass, at Tin Pan Alley Studios in New York, and then sat unused for a year, with the working title of "Chris Rock", before vocals were added. According to Ad-Rock in the 2020 documentary Beastie Boys Story, the lyrics are a fictitious rant about how their producer "was the worst person ever and how he was always sabotaging us and holding us back."

"Get It Together", which samples The Moog Machine's cover of "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In", was released as a single on March 17, 1994.[3] "Sure Shot", which features a sample taken from jazz flautist Jeremy Steig's "Howlin' For Judy" as the main instrumental part of the song, was released as a single on May 31, 1994.[4] The album's fourth single, "Root Down", was released in 1995.[5]

ArtworkEdit

Mike D and MCA collaborated with Gibran Evans, son of the artist and designer Jim Evans (who designed a hand-drawn typeface specifically for Ill Communication[6] that was used throughout the promotion of the album), to create the album's packaging. The photograph they chose for the front cover was taken by Bruce Davidson in 1964 at a Los Angeles drive-in diner called Tiny Naylor's[7] as part of an assignment for Esquire, but the magazine ultimately did not publish the photos.[8] Although Davidson had not heard the Beastie Boys' music and did not understand it once he did—he later recalled thinking it sounded like a "secret language" when they sent him a demo tape—he agreed to let the band use his photo.[9]

The booklet that came with the album features the artwork "Gaia" by Alex Grey on the middle pages.

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [10]
The A.V. ClubA−[11]
Entertainment WeeklyB[12]
Los Angeles Times    [13]
NME8/10[14]
Pitchfork8.6/10[15]
Q     [16]
Rolling Stone     [17]
Select4/5[18]
The Village VoiceA−[19]

Ill Communication placed at number 15 on The Village Voice's 1994 Pazz & Jop critics' poll,[20] number 19 on Spin's list of the "20 Best Albums of '94",[21] number three on NME's list of the "Top 50 Albums of 1994",[22] and number 13 on The Wire's annual critics' poll.[23] Guitar World included the album in its "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994" list.[24] Rolling Stone included the album in its list of "Essential Recordings of the 90s",[25] and Q included the album in its list of the "90 Best Albums of the 1990s".[26] Mojo ranked the album number 54 on its list of "100 Modern Classics".[27] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[28]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Beastie Boys except where noted.

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Sure Shot"3:19
2."Tough Guy"
  • Beastie Boys
  • Amery Smith
0:57
3."B-Boys Makin' with the Freak Freak" 3:36
4."Bobo on the Corner"1:13
5."Root Down" 3:32
6."Sabotage" 2:58
7."Get It Together" (featuring Q-Tip)
  • Beastie Boys
  • Q-Tip
4:05
8."Sabrosa"
  • Beastie Boys
  • Nishita
  • Bobo
3:29
9."The Update"
  • Beastie Boys
  • Nishita
  • Caldato
3:15
10."Futterman's Rule"
  • Beastie Boys
  • Nishita
3:42
11."Alright Hear This" 3:06
12."Eugene's Lament"
  • Beastie Boys
  • Nishita
  • Bobo
  • Eugene Gore
2:12
13."Flute Loop"
  • Beastie Boys
  • Caldato
1:54
14."Do It" (featuring Biz Markie)
  • Beastie Boys
  • Nishita
  • Caldato
  • Biz Markie
3:16
15."Ricky's Theme"
  • Beastie Boys
  • Nishita
  • Bobo
3:43
16."Heart Attack Man"
  • Beastie Boys
  • Smith
2:14
17."The Scoop"
  • Beastie Boys
  • Caldato
3:36
18."Shambala"
  • Beastie Boys
  • Nishita
  • Bobo
3:40
19."Bodhisattva Vow"
  • Beastie Boys
  • Caldato
3:08
20."Transitions"
  • Beastie Boys
  • Nishita
2:31
Total length:59:37
Japanese bonus tracks
No.TitleLength
21."Dope Little Song"1:51
22."Resolution Time"2:49
23."Mullet Head"2:52
24."The Vibes"3:06
2009 Remastered Edition Bonus Disc
No.TitleLength
1."Root Down" (Free Zone Mix)3:49
2."Resolution Time"2:49
3."Get It Together" (Buck-Wild Remix)4:18
4."Dope Little Song"1:50
5."Sure Shot" (European B-Boy Mix)2:59
6."Heart Attack Man" (Unplugged)2:22
7."The Vibes"3:07
8."Atwater Basketball Association File No. 172-C"1:27
9."Heart Attack Man" (Live)2:10
10."The Maestro" (Live)3:16
11."Mullet Head"2:53
12."Sure Shot" (European B-Boy Instrumental)2:58

PersonnelEdit

  • Beastie Boysproducers
    • Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz – vocals, guitar
    • Adam "MCA" Yauch – vocals, electric bass, string bass
    • Michael "Mike D" Diamond – vocals, drums
  • Money Mark – keyboards, organ
  • Eric Bobo – percussion; drums on "Ricky's Theme"
  • Amery Smith – drums on "Tough Guy" & "Heart Attack Man"
  • Eugene Gore – violin on "Eugene's Lament"
  • Q-Tip – vocals on "Get It Together"
  • Biz Markie – vocals on "Do It"
  • Mario Caldato, Jr. – producer

ChartsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Reynolds 2011, p. 182.
  2. ^ "Sabotage by Beastie Boys | Song Stories". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 17, 2012. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  3. ^ "Readers' Poll: The Best Beastie Boys Songs of All Time Pictures – 10. 'Get It Together'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  4. ^ "Readers' Poll: The Best Beastie Boys Songs of All Time Pictures – 8. 'Sure Shot'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on September 12, 2017. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  5. ^ "Root Down [Explicit]: The Beastie Boys: MP3 Downloads". Amazon. November 8, 2005. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  6. ^ "Hand lettering for Ill Communication". Instagram.com. Archived from the original on May 5, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2017. @jimevanstaz: Yeah, it was a special hand-drawn alphabet just for this album – it is used throughout the booklet.
  7. ^ "Change in the air: Rare images of 1964 Los Angeles". CNN.com. September 22, 2015. Archived from the original on March 29, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  8. ^ "Bruce Davidson: Los Angeles 1964". Steidl Books. Archived from the original on March 29, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  9. ^ "'Ill Communication' at 20: An Everything Guide to the Beastie Boys Masterpiece". Grantland.com. May 27, 2014. Archived from the original on February 12, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  10. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Ill Communication – Beastie Boys". AllMusic. Archived from the original on June 4, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  11. ^ Rabin, Nathan (July 14, 2009). "Beastie Boys". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on February 2, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  12. ^ Browne, David (June 3, 1994). "Ill Communication". Entertainment Weekly. No. 225. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  13. ^ Gold, Jonathan (May 29, 1994). "Boys' One-Note Bray Is Still Fun". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 31, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  14. ^ "Beastie Boys: Ill Communication". NME. May 29, 1994. p. 35.
  15. ^ Patrin, Nate (July 14, 2009). "Beastie Boys: Ill Communication [Deluxe Edition]". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on November 5, 2011. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  16. ^ "Beastie Boys: Ill Communication". Q. No. 276. July 2009. p. 134.
  17. ^ Diehl, Matt (June 2, 1994). "Ill Communication". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 9, 2011. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  18. ^ Grundy, Gareth (July 1994). "Beastie Boys: Ill Communication". Select. No. 49. p. 82.
  19. ^ Christgau, Robert (July 26, 1994). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on July 17, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  20. ^ "The 1994 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. New York. February 28, 1995. Archived from the original on August 10, 2020. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  21. ^ "20 Best Albums of '94". Spin. Vol. 10, no. 9. December 1994. pp. 76–78. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  22. ^ "Top 50 Albums of 1994". NME. December 24, 1994. p. 22.
  23. ^ "Critics Choice: Record of the Year". The Wire. No. 131. London. January 1995. p. 29. Archived from the original on July 11, 2018. Retrieved July 23, 2018 – via Exact Editions.
  24. ^ "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994". GuitarWorld.com. July 14, 2014. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  25. ^ "Essential Recordings of the 90s". Rolling Stone. May 13, 1999. p. 54.
  26. ^ "90 Best Albums of the 1990s". Q. No. 159. December 1999. p. 82.
  27. ^ "100 Modern Classics". Mojo. No. 150. May 2006. p. 60.
  28. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (March 23, 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
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Works cited

External linksEdit