I don’t often read non-fiction but I do like to buy it. I have a section of my TBR that is dedicated to music-related non-fiction books. This is one of the ones that I’ve had for the longest and also one that I was most excited about. I was already intrigued when I heard Adam and Joe talk about it on the Adam Buxton podcast. I was so easily swayed that I tracked down a copy as soon as possible. Then I put it on a pile and never thought of it again.
I wasn’t sure how I would get on with this book. After all, I’m not a die-hard Beastie Boys fan. I do enjoy them but I never expected to sit down for over 12 hours and listen to their story. Thankfully, I ended up doing exactly that and I’m really pleased. Not least because the audiobook is full of amazing narrators and contributors. The Grammy-nominated audiobook features people like Jarvis Cocker, Elvis Costello, Snoop Dogg, John C. Reilly, Will Ferrell, Kim Gordon, LL Cool J, Spike Jonze and oh so many more.
As a piece of music history, it does what you expect it to. That is, it tells the story of how the Beasties came to be. Starting with their early days as a punk band to their time as hip-hop superstars. Except the book has such a distinctive and unique feel. Each section is fairly short and to the point, which is great in a non-fiction book. It’s also written in a more conversational style. I don’t always get on with non-fiction but this felt so easy and relaxed.
Despite having a physical copy to hand, I decided to listen to the book instead. I’m really glad I did. Not only did the different narrators help break it up a bit but they brought life to each segment. The book is littered with contributions from a host of other people, so having some people narrate their own words worked really well. The different voices gave the book an unstoppable energy which made it so easy to listen to.
In terms of content, there is plenty of interesting stuff here. Yes, it will mostly appeal to Beastie Boys fans but there’s still plenty for music lovers to enjoy. Listening to the band talking about the music they love and the process of writing albums is great. It just highlights how much love they have for music and how talented they really are. Of course, there are still plenty of fun little stories about their exploits offstage to keep you entertained as well. The book is also a book of the 80s and a book of New York. It’s definitely not going to be for everyone but there is plenty to be found in this gem.