The Mix Up, the latest offering by the Beastie Boys, is one of the most perfectly named albums ever. The Beastie Boys have given up their mikes and turntables to show their musical chops. While this departure from the norm is a solid experience, longtime fans may feel dismayed over the change as The Mix Up leaves something to be desired.
The most jarring thing about The Mix Up is what isn't in the album. Gone are the bombastic rhymes and beats that have so identified the New York group's style in popular music. Instead, The Mix Up is a relaxed funk-filled fusion with Latin and rock influences. The greatest strength of The Mix Up is how easily it blends into the background of any situation. It's the kind of album that can be played at any time, the perfect white noise album.
This is also its greatest weakness, nothing on the album really stands out. The album feels safe. Even when the group seems to take a chance, like on the ironically named "Dramastically Different" by adding a sitar into the mix, the song has no impact. All the songs suffer from this problem, making the album feel like aural cotton candy: after you listen to it, there's nothing substantial left. Ultimately, while The Mix Up is a good record, it's the kind of inoffensive music you'd hear in a Starbucks coffee shop.