Mourning MCA: an Appropriate Beastie Boys Playlist

05May12

As a person who spends an inordinate amount of time meditating on minutae, one topic I often wonder is a bit gruesome.

I wonder what song or songs will play at a musician’s funeral.

This probably comes with the territory, being a Rolling Stones fan. I’ve spent many road trips playing hypothetical funeral DJ. I mean, Mick Jagger can’t live forever. So what song will play on the major news network sequence (“Satisfaction,” because it’s the most important), which one would play on the tribute (“Wild Horses” or possibly “Ruby Tuesday”), and which one would be the best to play at a bar full of fans (“You Can’t Always Get What You Want”) and which one would be theĀ coolest to play at a ball full of picky super-fans (“Salt of the Earth” and possibly a live cut of “Midnight Rambler”).

Some artists have appropriate legacy songs. But with the recent passing of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, I wondered, “Is the news just going to play ‘Brass Monkey’ or ‘Fight For Your Right?'” Since I get most of my news via Twitter, I don’t know how it went down. But I’d imagine I’m not far off.

While I can’t help that, I can make recommendations. I’m sure many people this weekend will slip on their ear goggles and pack their heads full of any Beasties they can find, but if they’re like me, they might feel weird listening to the more up-beat songs. Not that you can’t listen to those, but sometimes I’m in the mood to feel sad and meditative when I’m sad.

For those like me, I’ve composed an appropriate playlist to celebrate and mourn the loss of a great artist. I’m not saying these are the best Beastie songs ever, or even the best examples of MCA’s skills. But with a band as democratic as the Beasties seemed to be, with their all-for-one attitude, you can feel each member’s contribution even in the Ad-Rock-lead-sung “Sabotage.”

The list…

“Something’s Got to Give” (Check Your Head) — Like I said, meditative. It’s a slower one.

“High Plains Drifter” (Paul’s Boutique) — This one, too.

“Don’t Play No Game (That I Can’t Win)” (Hot Sauce Committee Pt 2) — Picking up the pace just a little with a change of pace. It’s what the Beasties did better than anyone. And the outsider voice almost feels like an in-canon tribute.

“So Whatcha Want?” (CYH) — The first rockin’ song that feels both seminal and a little sad.

“Hey Ladies” (PB) — Not sad at all, but a nice reminder of great times.

“3 MC’s and 1 DJ” (Live) — I’m no rap expert, but I feel the live version of this song shows off their skills, lyrics and sense of humor as well as any other track.

“I Don’t Know” (Hello Nasty) — You could probably go with any of the jazzy tunes from Nasty, but this one’s always gotten me.

“Too Many Rappers (Not Enough MC’s)” (HSC pt 2) — Another rocker. We need to keep things from getting too dark.

“Futterman’s Rule” (Ill Communication) — Vastly underrated, and a nice example of groove rock.

“Rhymin’ & Stealin'” (Licensed to Ill) — We needed a cut from the first album, and hearing those Led Zeppelin drums again should bring the right kind of smiles and tears.

“Sure Shot” (Ill Communication) — Some of Yauch’s best lyrics.

“The Larry Routine” (HSC pt2) — Let’s just call it a bonus joke.

Good luck everyone.

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