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Album: Check Your Head

Check Your Head is the third album by the Beastie Boys, released on April 21, 1992. Three years elapsed between the release of Paul's Boutique (the band's second album) and their recording of this album. Check Your Head was recorded at the G-Son Studios in Atwater Village, California in 1991. The album features the popular hits "So Whatcha Want" and "Pass the Mic"; the music videos for both songs are available on the Criterion Collection Beastie Boys Video Anthology DVD set. The album was re-released in 2009 in a number of formats and featured 16 b-sides and rarities as well as a commentary track. The album is extensively broken down track-by-track by Mike D, MCA, Ad-Rock, Mario Caldato Jr., and Money Mark in Brian Coleman's book Check the Technique. Background: In contrast to their previous album, Paul's Boutique, the Boys returned stylistically to their punk rock roots on Check Your Head, playing their own instruments for the first time on record since their early EPs (although they did provide live instrumentation on at least two songs on Paul's Boutique). Hence photographer Glen E. Friedman's idea to shoot photos with their instrument cases (one of which became the cover). The cover itself is a subtle depiction of the famous Three Wise Monkeys: "See No Evil," "Hear No Evil," and "Speak No Evil." (This theme is revisited in the lyrics of "Finger Lickin' Good.") The album was their first to be fully co-produced by Mario Caldato Jr. Caldato was an engineer on Paul's Boutique and was credited as producer on that album's track "Ask for Janice". The album also marks the first appearance of long time collaborator keyboardist Money Mark. There's been some debate about the Dutch band Urban Dance Squad, who had toured the United States with Living Colour in early 1991, influencing the Beastie Boys to play live instruments again; as the Beastie's earlier hardcore style bears little resemblance to the style they play on Check Your Head. The Urban Dance Squad album, Life 'n Perspectives of a Genuine Crossover, was recorded at ICP, Brussels, in the spring of 1991 and released in the autumn; while the Beastie Boys recorded Check Your Head throughout 1991 and released it in spring 1992. This is of interest because the "Life 'N' Perspectives" interludes on the UDS album sample the same Jimi Hendrix song ("Happy Birthday") and overlay near identical live drums as the Beastie Boys would later use on the song "Jimmy James" from Check Your Head. The Beastie Boys toured with the Rollins Band in the fall of 1992 to support Check Your Head. Reception: Rolling Stone (6/25/92, p. 41) - 3.5 Stars - Very Good - "...their most unconventional outing to date...Beneath the seeming chaos, the Beastie Boys have created a harmonious playground out of their musical fantasies..." Spin (9/99, p. 124) - Ranked #12 in Spin Magazine's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s." Spin (12/92, p. 67) - Ranked #4 in Spin's list of the `20 Best Albums Of The Year'. Alternative Press (7/95, p.81) - Ranked #23 in AP's list of the `Top 99 Of '85-'95'. Village Voice (3/2/93, p.5) - Ranked #5 in the Village Voice's list of the 40 Best Albums Of 1992. PitchforkMedia (11/7/03) - Ranked # 34 in Pitchfork Media's list of the 'Top 100 Albums of the 1990s' (from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Check_Your_Head) User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

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