Monday, May 7, 2012

Beastie Week: "No Sleep till Brooklyn"

One of the the best songs on Licensed to Ill takes its name from Motörhead, its riff from AC/DC and its solo from Kerry King. Who wants to tell me that the Beastie Boys aren't metal?

Maybe the Beasties themselves. Their 1986 "No Sleep till Brooklyn" video mocked the fashionable hair metal of bands like Whitesnake.

It's a funny song and video (wait for the guy in a gorilla suit,) but the Beasties are serious artists. Their greatest pop-metal mockery was in the music itself, a diamond-solid tribute to genuine hard rock and the greatest of all boroughs. Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith's "Walk This Way," released the same year, gets all the credit for bridging rap and rock. But I prefer "No Sleep," which created an actual rap-rock song, rather than meeting the two halfway at pop.

"No Sleep Till Brooklyn" is harder to define than "Fight for Your Right" or "Brass Monkey," and it didn't hit as big. But it carved out a niche that a multi-platinum genre still hasn't caught up to.

No comments: