Beastie Boys


Beastie Boys – Sabotage

My husband’s car has satellite radio, though we aren’t subscribers so usually it’s just a button we don’t push. However, right now we have a free trial and I was running errands over the weekend driving his car around flipping through the stations. At one point the dj mentioned that Green Day’s Dookie had been released twenty years ago. That reminded me of an article I read a month ago about 30 albums turning 20.

Some of those albums do you make you blink and say, really? It’s been 20 years? But some others I think, yeah, that sounds right. A couple I even think, oh, I would have thought that was older. I mean, Hootie and the Blowfish, that’s old, am I right?

Back in 2011 when all of 1991’s albums were turning 20, I felt it. I felt old and I felt how could that be? It can’t possibly have been that long ago! In the three years since then I have figured out why that is and why I’m not fazed by the twentieth anniversaries this year.

In 1991 I moved to Washington, DC, had my first “real” job, and was living the life of a young, single person in a city. I was sharing a house with other 20-somethings, went out to shows a lot and basically did whatever I wanted. Life was relatively carefree and I soaked it up. Music has a way of making little time capsules from distinct periods in our lives. The music you listened to in high school. The college years were huge for me. Those three years I lived in DC definitely have a strong association with certain bands and albums.

At the beginning of 1994 I was still working at my museum job in DC. I would quit that job in late February and go to Europe for a month. By the end of the year I was living up in Maine, I’d bought my first car and was working at LL Bean by day* and an insurance company at night. Life had done a 180° and once the daily grind settled in, the years became less identifiable. There was little to set 1995 apart from 1996. I wasn’t married, I wasn’t having children, there were no markers to note as the years rolled by. I don’t think it was just the fact that the insurance company job was soul-crushingly boring, I think that’s kind of just what happens when you’ve been out of college for a couple of years. There’s your whole adult life ahead and things aren’t parceled out in chunks the way they were in your younger years. Even getting married and having kids, for me at least, weren’t the sort of events that wrapped up stretches of time in the same way.

For people experiencing that “Whoa!” factor this year with the albums that are 20 years old, I can say, it gets easier. This album, Ill Communication by the Beastie Boys, feels 20 to me. It feels like it’s been around a long time, an old friend. It is my 25th college reunion this year (not that I’m going) and so 20 doesn’t seem that bad, really. Lately I’ve been thinking about an album that’s turning 30 this year and I’m not even freaking out about it. Yet.

* If you live within, oh, say, a 50-mile radius of the LL Bean headquarters, chances are high you or someone you know has worked at Bean’s for the holiday season. I did it twice; once as a packer, and the time mentioned above in returns. I can vouch for their guarantee policy. They really will take anything back.