At nearly 600 pages, it is a Beastie bouillabaisse. Part liner notes, part playlist, part museum catalog, part coffee-table book, part magazine, it is the chronicle of a band. Inevitably, even reluctantly, it is also a memoir from the trio’s surviving members ... Friendship is the book’s subject as much as music, fame and New York. But exclusions... give a faint sense of whitewash and dissembling. It’s not just about fact-checking. Now that the Beastie Boys are good, they struggle with how to talk about having been bad. They haven’t really figured out how to address difficult things ... Diamond’s voice is lapidary, droll. Horovitz comes on like a borscht belt comedian, but beneath that he is urgent, incredulous, kind of vulnerable. There is an almost Caulfieldian sense of grief about the irretrievable past ... Really, it’s a fascinating, generous book with portraits and details that float by in bursts of color.
The Beastie Boys have created a book, and it is preposterous ... Literary heavyweight Jonathan Lethem shows up to pen some sort of philosophical treatise on 'white boys'; it’s kind of bad ... It is also a beautifully messy (and large) talisman containing within it many of the great joys and surprises that come with listening to the Beastie Boys, which can be weirdly moving to read in 2018 ... You realize, reading the Book, that this was actually part of a cohesive philosophy within the band (MCA dubs it 'so bad it’s awesome')—to pretty much exclusively do shit that cracked each other up ... This surplus of voices is part of the joy of Beastie Boys Book, particularly in its first part, which vividly recreates the pulse and feel and very concrete topography of pre-Giuliani New York ... You realize in this back stretch that the reason you’ve been reading wasn’t all the goofy humor or wild metatextual interjections but rather the music itself, lively and taut and funky, bouncing off the page. A-.
Here, Michael 'Mike D' Diamond and Adam 'AD-ROCK' Horovitz construct a monster compendium more akin to a work of art than a memoir: colorful essays penned by Diamond and Horovitz, heaps of photos, illustrations, lyrics, a graphic novel, playlists upon playlists and much more ... Humor and humility suffuse the collection ... Beastie Boys Book is a fitting tribute to Yauch and to a band that even after decades still looms larger than life.