With the undeniable truth that the Beastie Boys can’t release new albums without Adam “MCA” Yauch, who sadly passed away in 2012, the only thing left for a Beastie Boys listener to do is dig deeper and further into their archive and try to unearth any hidden nuggets of gold. It may be that very notion that inspired the oddly titled “Pretzel Nugget E.P.” — something delicious and simultaneously hidden from view. In fact given that this was a promotional EP that was presumably only sent to radio stations and whatever “influencers” were called in 1994, it probably doesn’t get more hidden than this.
Normally I would be super jazzed to discover that such an obscure Beastie Boys release had not only been catalogued but uploaded to the internet in its entirety. For a casual listener who stumbled across a “not for resale” stamped copy in a dusty bin at a pawn shop, I’m sure they would be perfectly satisfied. The problem here is entirely one of my own making — despite having discovered this “Nugget” there’s nothing new here. Let me give you the full lineup of this six song set.
- Heart Attack Man
- Tough Guy
- Mullet Head
- Futterman’s Rule
- Get It Together
Does that track listing look familiar? The first three songs are from all versions of “Ill Communication.” The fourth “Mullet Head” was on the initial Japanese release and subsequent re-releases, as well as being on the “Sure Shot” single. “Futterman’s Rule” goes right back to getting “Ill” and then we end with “Get It Together” featuring Q-Tip from said same. 83.3% of this release was readily available to consumers two years before this promo EP was sent out. It really makes you wonder why they didn’t just send out promo copies of “Ill Communication” instead.
Ultimately I have to split a fine hair and say there’s nothing wrong with the “Pretzel Nugget E.P.” in terms of musical quality. I don’t have a problem with it being part of the Beastie Boys catalogue in theory, but in practice it’s a very hard item for dedicated fans to track down, and it rewards them by having absolutely nothing new they wouldn’t have already heard. For video game collectors this would be the equivalent of buying the same game twice because they changed the cover art, even though the actual contents of the game are exactly the same. Why would you do that? Because you’re OCD and it bugs you to not have every variation. If you’re not you can skip this EP entirely.