Greatest Songs, #475: “Sabotage” by Beastie Boys

Album: Ill Communication (Capitol Records)
Year: 1994
Written by: Beastie Boys

 From Rolling Stone:

Adam “MCA” Yauch came up with the killer fuzz- bass riff at Manhattan’s Tin Pan Alley studio, but the song was finished a year later in L.A. With two weeks to go before Ill Communication was completed, Adam “Adrock” Horovitz got all hot and bothered about paparazzi on the mike.

From allmusic, reviewing the album:

Much of the credit has to go to the group’s renewed confidence in — or at least renewed emphasis on — their rhyming; there are still instrumentals (arguably, there are too many instrumentals), but the Beasties do push their words to the forefront, even on dense rockers like the album’s signature tune, “Sabotage.” But even those rhymes illustrate that the group is in the process of a great settling, relying more on old-school-styled rhyme schemes and word battles than the narratives and surreal fantasies that marked the high points on their first two albums. With this record, the Beasties confirm that there is indeed a signature Beastie Boys aesthetic (it’s too far-ranging and restless to be pegged as a signature sound), with the group sticking to a blend of old school rap, pop culture, lo-fi funk, soulful jazz instrumentals, Latin rhythms, and punk, often seamlessly integrated into a rolling, pan-cultural, multi-cultural groove.