Hot Sauce Committee Part Two: What the critics are saying

Photo: Philip Andelman

Well, the Beastie Boys new album, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, is finally out, and the reviews are streaming in. Although the majority of reviews are positive, the consensus seems to be it is good, not great. The album is receiving an average rating of four stars out of five.

Below are a few select comments from reviews:

"[Hot Sauce Committee Part Two] is exactly the Beasties album that the public has been salivating for, and more--not just a return to form, but a masterpiece on the level of '80s classics like their raucous debut Licensed to Ill and the staggering sample odyssey Paul's Boutique."
-Matt Diehl, Los Angeles Times
Rating: 4 stars (out of 4)

"...Beasties sound exactly like themselves, cutting loose without straining to fit anyone else's idea of relevance...they make no effort to accommodate or even acknowledge any of the latest hip-hop trends. Instead, we get the sound of master musicians in their comfort zone, doing everything their own way."
-Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

"The Beasties' weird, wise-cracking spirit shines brighter than it has in years…the top five or six tracks here are on par with the band's best work…the Beastie formula sounds vibrant, cohesive and, yeah, still saucy."
-Patrick Foster, The Washington Post

"The earnest social commentary that was slipped into Beasties albums like To the 5 Boroughs in 2004 and Hello Nasty in 1998 has virtually disappeared on Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. Now Beastie Boys are back to their longtime staples of boasting and name dropping, particularly New York City locations and all sorts of food..."
-Jon Pareles, New York Times

"Many of Part Two's tracks are reminiscent of early Beastie Boys...The album is a return to form that still manages to be innovative and ridiculously fun."
-Megan Gibson, Time

"[The album contains] grimy keyboards, grimier vocals and sparse beats that sound like they belong on a demo rather than a major-label release. In contrast to the polish of much mainstream hip-hop, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two sounds like a crusty mix tape...That's not a bad thing. On the contrary, it's a refreshingly understated return to long-ago form by one of hip-hop's most venerated groups."
-Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune
Rating: 3 stars (out of 4)

"...much of the album, while usually loud, is surprisingly minimalist--in good ways (the spliced samples and spacious beats of "Long Burn the Fire") and bad (the dub instrumental "Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament," even the driving "Make Some Noise" is studded with holes and lacks a real chorus). It's still a good party, just maybe not worth fighting too hard for."
-Thomas Conner, Chicago Sun-Times
Rating: 3 stars (out of 4)

"...this is the Beasties Boys at their most vital, engaged and surprising...While drum loops remain a staple, Hot Sauce Committee is also the most organic mix yet of their hip-hop and musician sides. The result? From staggering grooves to jams that could soundtrack the future robot wars, don't expect the expected here."
-Neala Johnson, Herald Sun (Australia)
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

"...a party album that's as good as 1998's Hello Nasty.Hot Sauce Committee Part Two finds the Beasties on marvellously carefree form, scattering references to food, microphones, Bob Dylan, Lee Majors and other pop-cultural detritus..."
-Kitty Empire, The Guardian
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

"Time has not dulled Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock's devotion to the old-school hip hop aesthetic of big beats and braggadocio."
-Basem Boshra, Montreal Gazette
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

"The Beasties are back with a 16-track album full of squelchy beats, tossed-off jokes and on-point rhyming..."
-Jason Lipshutz, Billboard

"Hot Sauce is a lot like Daniel Craig's ├╝bercool James Bond--another stripped-down return to a franchise's best virtues after a decade or so of wandering the desert. It took a little time, but the Boys are back with a license to ill."
-Kyle Anderson, Entertainment Weekly
Rating: A-

"The sound of the Beasties here is catnip for those who still revere their late 80s/early 90s output: vocals are drenched in reverb...while the tracks fuse live instrumentation and samples...delivering tracks alive with ideas and chaos and funk and noise and groove..."
-Stevie Chick, BBC Music

"[Hot Sauce Committee Part Two] is a vibrant mix of live instruments and samples, blending the '70s-funk vibe of The Mix-Up with the Beasties' hyper-verbal wordplay as emcees MCA, Ad-Rock and Mike D ping-pong rhymes back and forth, with occasional help from guests."
-Eric R. Danton, Hartford Courant
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

"All the staples are present: wonky electronics, hardcore punk/rap crossovers, a daft routine about the name Larry, a funky instrumental, a rap battle with Nas, magnificent beat-making."
- Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, Financial Times
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

"...there's no radical new direction: HSCP2 might have been lifted out of any period in the trio's history from 1990 onwards – with jubilant old-skool synth squiggles and absurdist rhymes about the sort of topics nobody but the Beasties would think of covering."
-Simon Price, The Independent (UK)

"Hot Sauce is rooted in the good-time party-rocking rhymes and dusty grooves of old-school hip-hop, though the group finds ways to expand its sound without deviating from retro fundamentals."
-Nathan Rabin, AV Club

"[Hot Sauce Committee Part Two] sounds fuzzy, the songs are kinda rough, and there doesn't seem to be any ambition to make a hit--their focus seems to be simply aimed at having fun. It's as if the Beasties are revisiting their Check Your Head and Ill Communication days, minus the massive singles."
-Eddie Fleisher, Alt Press
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

"...with the production obscuring the scarce hooks, the impact of the trio's still-ample wit gets blunted. Lacking the detailed soul-searching that's always given the Beasties' pop-culture onslaught wisdom and depth, Hot Sauce merely simmers when it needs to boil."
-Barry Walters, Spin
Rating: 6 stars (out of 10)

"The record's appeal is largely nostalgic...Hot Sauce Committee Part Two begs the question: can you be nostalgic about nostalgia?...[It] sounds like a record out of step with the world."
-James McMahon, NME
Rating: 7 stars (out of 10)

In the end, it matters very little what critics think and say about the album. They are not the ones who buy the Beastie Boys music and see their shows. What matters is what fans think about the album. So what do you think? Do you love it, hate it, or feel ambivalent about it?


2:48 PM Marcus G said...

I'm happy with it. It's not my favorite Beasties album but I'm listening to it a lot now.

2:55 PM Mike Dorlan said...

Beastie Boys kicks some serious ass on Hot Sauce Committee. Lee Majors Come Again and OK are my favorite tracks.

2:57 PM Brass Monkey said...

I think it's great..

A spoon of Chek Your Head, a sip of Ill Communication, a glass of Hello Nasty and a sprinkle of To the Five Boroughs.

YouTuber theneedledrop on his review said that listening to this album is "listening to colours", or something similar. I totally agree

Ciao dall'Italia! Great site :)

3:23 PM Richard said...

I don't understand the comparisons to older albums. I guess people are referring to the distorted vocals. To me, the album sounds like nothing they have done in the past. If I were going to compare it to anything, I'd compare it to BS2000. I don't hate the album's electronic dance vibe but I also don't like it very much.

3:30 PM Brass Monkey said...

personally my comparisons are about sensations, atmosphere. something beyond album sounds that, it's true, are different from the others

3:39 PM spiffy said...

I like it a lot. No dud tracks as far as I'm concerned. I've only listened to it once but I'll be studying it.

There are some good joints on there and the overall vibe is Beastie-riffic.

3:39 PM Arel said...

I cannot stop listening to "Hot Sauce Committee Part 2". I can't get enough. Seriously.

3:43 PM Evan89 said...

It's safe to say Hot Sauce Committee Part Two is my favorite Beasties album ever. Great music!

4:18 PM Fittonia said...

This is going to make me unpopular here but I hate HSCP2. To say I am very disappointed with the production is an understatement. Philip Zdar was the wrong person to produce. Zdar buried the Beastie Boys under layers of bells and whistles and other shit. It's so overproduced, which I don't think anyone finds surprising since they spent 2 years finalizing the album. I like Beastie Boys in organic form, without all the bells & whistles. I want a stripped down version of HSCP2. I hope that's what HSCP1 is and that they will release it someday. I feel bad about hating the album. I have been depressed about it for days.

4:36 PM Kevin said...

@Fittonia - You have a right to your opinion. I don't think the album is as bad as you say. I agree it suffers from being overproduced. I would have preferred to hear something a little more loose and organic as you say, but I like it for what it is - pure fluff. There are no serious themes or ideas. It's all fun and play. Sometimes fun and play is what you want or need, especially in hard times like it has been since the last Beastie Boys album was released. I'm enjoying the album for what it is and trying not to think how it is greater or lesser than their other work.

4:41 PM Fittonia said...

Thanks Kevin. I think my problem is I had too high expectations after waiting so long for it to be released. It's not all terrible to me. I like "Long Burn the Fire."

4:45 PM Kevin said...

True. "Long Burn the Fire" is the best track.

4:54 PM Saber said...

A guy named Ludovic Hunter-Tilney reviewed the Beastie Boys album? Wow. Beastie Boys should write a song about that and make a video to go with. I'll give them the song title - "Ludovic in the Turtleneck." Turtleneck is of course to be pronounced turtlenick.

5:05 PM spiffy said...

I especially like Ok, Funky Donkey, and Crazy Ass Shit after just one listen.

Fittonia - Don't know if this is your problem but I suggest you give it another listen on a big sound system with a subwoofer, not a media player or shitty computer speakers. You need some BOOM in your room.


5:12 PM Brass Monkey said...


I'm so sorry about your disappointment. I'm very serious. Your comment doesn't make you unpopular, music is subjective, thank god it is!

But hey, maybe you don't like it now, but you'll enjoy it later time =)

(damn, sorry for my English)

5:41 PM yauchiejo said...

Well I love it! Beasties can’t do the same thing every time they put out a new album. I can see why one would say it’s over produced because so much is going on but I think everything they did was intentional. It doesn't sound like anything out there so mission accomplished and thank God IMO.. When you hear this album you can tell they had a lot of fun writing it together and layering the beats and experimenting with new sounds. That’s what I love about this band. And they already explained that they wanted to keep the songs short and not have the usual jam out sessions. I’d say read more interviews and see why they are doing what they are doing before just writing it off… If you still simply don’t like it then that’s cool too. As long as they are happy with it then at the end of the day the rest is all gravy.

7:02 PM Emily said...

I like the new album a lot! It's true it's different than any of their other albums, but I'm ok with them going in a new direction. Funky Donkey is my favorite song.

Is it my imagination or is Ad-Rock's vocals more out front than Yauch and Mike?

8:24 PM Klepto said...

Bada ba ba ba I'm lovin' it -Klepto ^_^

8:52 PM Mickey said...

Much respect to the Beastie Boys.

Still doing it and doing it well...

8:59 PM Whitey said...

To be honest, I find the new album to be underwhelming on first few listens. It could be a grower.

9:20 PM Jamie Nelson said...

I am really liking the new Beastie Boys cd.

10:07 PM Erica said...

The Santigold track is smokin!

10:34 PM Brian E said...

This new album is very BS2000ish.
Was surprised and saddened to read Ad Rock was smoking while their band mate is still undergoing cancer treatment on the Rolling Stone link tweeted....

4:50 AM cool coper said...

i enjoy the record greatly. i am already seeing a spectatcular live performance of nonstop disco powerpack and of long burn the fire in front of me. it'd be gigantic fun.

9:36 AM Triple Trouble said...

I like the album. I'm not sure "Make Some Noise" was the best choice for single, but otherwise I have no complaints. It's not a masterpiece like PB or CYH but it's strong.

I hope MCA keeps getting better. It's weird to see the band doing interviews without him.

1:35 PM Streetwise said...

I'm disappointed with HSCP2 for the same reasons others have mentioned. Zdar may have done a number on the Beastie Boys but they let him do it so it's their fault. I think it's criminal MMM wasn't part of the recording. He's such an integral part of their sound. I look forward to hearing what MMM will do with the songs live..if they ever perform them live.

1:36 PM Crazy @$$ Crate Digga said...

Good on you Fittonia for speaking your mind.
While I don't hate the album I totally agree I'd much rather have the album as it was originally made without the Zdar "sheen" on it (reminds of the situation with Phil Spector & the Beatles Let It Be) Yes, I'd pay for it again if they put out a proper version. Also really annoyed they took B Boys In The Cut & Pop Your Balloon off the physical releases. I don't care if people feel they wouldn't "fit" musically, the run time is pretty short so their inclusion would have made it feel like better value for money. The album artwork is pretty bland too. The extremely limited nature of the Make Some Noise single was also irritating. Basically, "The Management" have handled the release very poorly and need to be replaced.

2:23 PM yauchiejo said...

People are forgetting that one of the Beastie Boys is sick with cancer. I think we should be thankful that they were able to it least put out a new record for us! There is only so much they can do "promotion wise" with only two members. I understand if you don’t really feel the album but I know for me as a fan I don’t want to put all of my focus into complaining about how bad this is or that is because it won’t ever be as bad as losing Yauch if we don’t keep him in our prayers and focus on fan support too. I know I can be selfish at times too but after hearing Horovitz STATE that their main focus is getting Yauch healthy then the fans should follow SUIT!

2:37 PM Crazy @$$ Crate Digga said...

No doubt that Yauch's health is the top priority for sure but the question for this particular post was what do fans think of the album. I certainly wasn't questioning the Boys personal commitment to the project. Peace.

2:41 PM Streetwise said...

@yauchiejo I have enough respect for Yauch not to patronize him or the band with bullshit comments just so they can feel good. If they’re smart and care -which I think they do- they will pay attention to fan comments. Criticism is nothing new to them. They’re big boys. They can handle it. It’s not your job to protect them - nor is it your job to tell fans how they are supposed to respond and what to focus on.

2:55 PM yauchiejo said...

I already stated if you want to dissect the album then have at it. I was referring to the complaints about PROMOTION. Read my message again if you missed. You feel one way about it and I feel another way. I don’t think anybody is WRONG. I just said there is a reason why things are not going smoothly with promotion. And it’s not about being a big boy, it’s about compassion and supporting. If that's wrong then sorry STREETWISE! Get mad at me all you want.

3:13 PM Saber said...

No one criticized the promotion. One person stated an observation about it. In fact I agree with the observation. It IS weird as fuck to see the Beastie Boys out without Yauch.

3:20 PM The Rappin Duke said...

First off the new album is dope, you cannot go wrong with the proof is in the pudding/pudding in the pants or miked being the jewish brad pit haha....I have to say that I like it better than The Mix Up/TT5B/& Hello Nasty. Pop your balloon and Bboys in the cut should of made it, and they should have scraped the mini larry skit because its in the song anyways as well.
TT5B was overly simplistic and drum machine based, where this record really layers the combination of organic shit and samples/electronic grooves. Boom. A-

3:23 PM yauchiejo said...

*sigh* Never mind. I don’t think I can express my point without pissing people off. I’m not trying to tell anybody what to do but lately I read so many complaints about why they didn’t do this or that, why they aren’t performing, why don’t they do a show, why is promotion so bland, and I’m like DUDE really??? Never mind….. I am moving on…..To stay on TOPIC……. My one issue is The Lisa Lisa song. I love it to death and I am hoping there is a longer version in the fault. Would love to get my hands on it. I am also excited because there is a part 2 so perhaps all of the stuff people are missing from part 2 will end up on the next album.

3:32 PM Pinkslip said...

Long live the Beastie Boys!! I love the new album ALOT, VERY MUCH, MUCHO-MUCHO!! It's Crazy with a capital C! My fave songs are Ok, Say It, and Funky Donkey. It is a lot more dancey than their other albums, but I like that. I AM A DANCING MACHINE THANKS TO THE BEASTIE BOYS!! POINT ME TO THE CLOSEST DISCO!!

6:45 PM spiffy said...

I agree with Streetwise that the album would be better with MMM on it. I like the production and the beats, but all Beasties music needs MMM, simply because he is the tits. No refuting that!

It's breaking my heart to see Beasties out doing promos without Yauch. Makes me worried about him too. Cancer is a fuckin bitch.


10:17 AM Crazy @$$ Crate Digga said...

Beasties, could you release the acapellas like you did for 5 Boroughs please ?

10:53 AM Lee said...

I don't love it, and I love everything they do.
I love a few of the songs...from Lee Majors on the album is choice.

11:53 PM Chirelle said...

Sorry but I feel the same as Lee. I love all their albums but the new one is a stinker. It doesn't sound or feel like the Beasties.

6:19 AM cool coper said...

sorry, i have to get involved again. not to contradict chirelle, lee or anybody. their opinion is as good as mine. no, it's just that i listened to the album a lot during the last 72h, being in transit most of the time. and i have to say: the thing is nothing short of rocket science. there are at least 4 outright rockets on the album, the hottest perhaps being "long burn the fire". another thing that i found curious: what's up with the throttle sounds all over the place? is that a good-bye to the old, gas fuelled SUV carbon age and a hello to renewable, beastie-charged groove times?? i am in.

5:31 AM beasties superfan said...

i think this album is a smasher!!! its annoying when 'fans' make comments like "oh i dont think this or that should have been a single" hate to break it to ya but it isnt your choice!!! also comments like "it doesnt feel like a beasties album"...have you asked THEM how they feel about THEIR album?? again not your call! people act like they should have been in the studio with them callin shots. your fans not legendary musicians so act like it.

beasties superfan!

3:21 PM B-Boys#1fan said...

I agree with superfan

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