Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Beastie Boys: Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sounds of Science [Grand Royal/Capitol, 1999]
Simultaneously overconfident and generous as usual, this asynchronously omnivorous package has all the hits, only there aren't that many, so 16 of 42 tracks are "rarities." In their opinion, that doesn't include the revelating early single "She's On It" or the fine late B side "Skills To Pay the Bills." It does include Fatboy Slim's "Body Movin' " remix, which is as much fun as "Fight for Your Right," which they apologize for, although they're proud to debut "Boomin' Granny," which puts moves on a "sassy, sophisticated, sexy" 80-year-old in the checkout line (hey, that's my mama--and the song's nice in an offensive sort of way, their calling card). Of course, their rarities can be as flat as anybody else's, as can their showcases, like the Latin-funk "Sabrosa" on its third go-round. Still rappers and rockers, still wise guys seeking wisdom, they'll try anything twice and convince half their many fans to like it, usually to the benefit of said fans if not musical history. This is their claim on said history. They've earned it. A-