As I think I may have mentioned before, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Licensed To Ill-era Beastie Boys. Part of it might’ve been a sense of “oh, now white guys are rapping and you guys are all into it” that I felt from people and couldn’t really articulate as a pre-pubescent. Part of it may have been the fact that all the kids who bullied me at the time seemed really into them. Whatever it was, I didn’t appreciate the Beasties’ debut until I was much older. I didn’t anticipate enjoying anything from the Beastie Boys ever.
Then “Hey Ladies” came out and blew my 13 year old mind to bits.
I distinctly remember hearing it on the radio at some point in summer ’89, either right before my family went on a road trip to Florida or during the trip. “Hey Ladies” had nothing in common with “Fight For Your Right” or “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn”. It was funky. It was danceable. It sampled, like, 3000 different songs (seriously, y’all; there’s a lot of samples in there). The guys’ voices were the same, but it was like someone took those voices and dropped them onto a completely different planet. I was in love.
I remember during that road trip, stopping at a record store (it might’ve just been a WalMart) and perusing the cassingles section with my cousin. I think we were allowed to pick out two each. I lingered over the “Hey Ladies” single for a minute and wanted to buy it, but didn’t. Instead, I went with “Cold Hearted” by Paula Abdul and “I Like It” by Dino. I loved both those songs. Still love ’em, as a matter of fact. But they’re not “Hey Ladies”. They’re not as smart or witty. They don’t have videos as iconic (although Paula’s risque dance moves in “Cold Hearted”come very close).
I’ve bought at least four copies of Paul’s Boutique in my lifetime, though. So I feel like I’ve made up for that cassingle oversight.