Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Derivative + Derivative = Original!

It remains a mystery to me why this song isn't better known among both Beasties fans and the wider music world. The original channeled 60's pop (and specifically pilfered The Beatles' "Taxman" for the song's definitive bass line) and adapted it to The Jam's concise pop, in a period where that band was producing masterpieces on a regular basis. That the Beastie Boys managed to absorb "Start!" and send it out sounding like one of their excursions into groove-based funk (for more of the same, The In Sound From Way Out! is a hugely enjoyable compilation of such forays) is an incredible achievement, especially since the song loses none of its melodic flourish. While I wondered why the song isn't one of the Beasties' more well-known efforts, in a way it simply isn't in its nature; laid-back but distinctive, the song wasn't designed to be universally recognised. Rather, the mood of the song suggests low-key appreciation, and the song sounds all the better on that level.

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