If this review feels somewhat familiar then I thank you for being a long time reader of the website. I covered “The Mix-Up” by the Beastie Boys back in 2007, but what I didn’t cover was “The Mix-Up Bonus Tracks.” There is a good reason for that. I bought a physical version of the album which didn’t come with this EP, and as a matter of fact, NO physical version of this EP exists. All six tracks were released as a special bonus only for people who purchased the new album digitally — some from Amazon and some through iTunes.
Now I’d like to put aside my thoughts about this EP for the moment and ask a few questions. In honor of the late Adam Yauch these are questions that need to be asked. Question number one — why in all of this time over a decade and a half later has the album not been reissued with the bonus tracks included? The original album was only 42 minutes long. There’s not a single cassette, vinyl or compact disc format that couldn’t accommodate another 21:30 of music. Second question — if it’s not worth doing if you can’t make a big deal out of it, why not make it a Record Store Day exclusive? I’d go stand in line to buy it. I’m sure a lot of people would. Third and final question — why in the holy hell did you make it an iTunes exclusive in the first place? That’s unnecessarily exclusionary for anyone who doesn’t have an iPhone, an iPad, or an Apple made music playing device in general.
There’s a good chance that you are a Beastie Boys fan who was not even aware “The Mix-Up Bonus Tracks” was a thing before this review. The worst part is I can’t even do anything about that. I can’t direct you to iTunes because if you already have this album, you’d have to buy it twice to get these bonus grooves. Unless there’s a stand-alone version at some point in the future after this review, or my aforementioned suggestion of a special edition reissue of “The Mix-Up,” the best thing I can tell you to do is stream this EP wherever you can find it. For my review I used YouTube to listen to the whole thing.
The most frustrating thing here is that I’m about to damn “The Mix-Up Bonus Tracks” with faint praise. There’s absolutely nothing groundbreaking about any of these six songs. “The Mix-Up” was a Beastie Boys jam band album, entirely instrumental and not lyrical, and this is more of the same. Same vibes and stuff. The songs are very clearly part of the same sessions and there’s no good reasons for them to have been left off the original album in the first place… EXCEPT as a marketing stunt to get people to buy it on iTunes. That sucks. Period. If however you enjoyed hearing Ad Rock, MCA and Mike D get down on some funky sounds the first time around, you’ll like extra tracks like “Fibonacci Sequence.” They’re good. They’re even good enough to buy physically… if you could. They’re not better than the original album but they were/are worthy of inclusion.