Being a massive Beatles fan, it’s no surprise that “The Sound of Science” is my favorite Beastie Boys track. I can actually still remember hearing it for the first time, one night in 1994 on Chris Morris’ short-lived Radio 1 show, and thinking “Wait, is that sampling The Beatles?” in surprise. The smartness of the samples – from “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (both versions, unless I’m mishearing) and “The End,” respectively – is one of the reasons that I love the song so much, the way that the first three sound at once familiar and unusual, with the looped drums from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” giving the song more impetus and immediacy than the final version arguably has.
The sampled guitar from “The End” sounds great, too, but what I love most about the song is the placement of that guitar. There’s something just perfect to me about the juxtaposition of Mike D’s “Do whatcha like, huh?” at 1:57 with the guitar that immediately follows – It gives the guitar more attitude, somehow, and yet feels utterly appropriate for the track it’s lifted from (“The End” being a series of improvised guitar solos traded between John, George and Paul, literally them doing what they like, even as the song’s lyrics suggest that we be a little more conscientious in our actions) and the Beatles in general.
Accidentally or otherwise, that verbal shrug is something that I always attribute not to the Beasties, but to the Beatles now; somehow, it switched tracks in my brain and belongs with them. I like to think that the Beatles that were, back when, would’ve heard this track and wished they’d made it themselves.