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Beastie Boys Keyboardist Makes Good

Money Mark
Push The Button

When I heard Money Mark's debut album Money Marks Keyboard Repair, it just didn't do a whole lot for me. Sure, there were a couple catchy songs and some interesting noodling, but it wasn't very cohesive at all and I pretty much wrote him off as the keyboardist for a major group (the Beastie Boys) who put out a less-than-spectacular debut.

Imagine then, a couple years later when I hear a catchy-as-hell song on the radio and find out it's something off the new Money Mark album. At first I thought it was a fluke. One good track and a lot of filler that sounded like keyboard fiddling from his last release. I made a mental note of it and filed it away in my mind, but didn't really look into the issue any more. Then, I ran across a sampler in a store somewhere that contained bits of 5 different tracks and knew I had to have it. Each and every one of them was listenable, and a couple of them were real winners. It was much more in a pop vein than his previous album, but not so much that I expected to hear it on mainstream radio.

After picking up the disc and giving it a listen, I wish that half as many people would have bought this album who had purchased the Beastie Boys album Hello Nasty that came out the same year. Although they're in slightly different veins, Push The Button is easily just as satifying. The disc starts off with the fairly throw-away, but nice opener of the album titled "Push The Button." It's all wigged-out with different distorted vocals bits throughout and is a fun number that name drops itself about 20 times. Things move into more sing-song mode on the very next song with "Too Like You." Money Mark actually shows that he can sing as well (despite what he says in a later track) and write a super-catchy song. It's about the most mainstream sounding song on the disc, but it has enough quirk to distance itself from the glut of top 40. After a fun little keyboard number, the disc launches right back into single territory with "Tomorrow Will Be Like Today." Again, it's a catchy-as-hell vocal track and I'm surprised it wasn't a big hit.

After two more goofy little tracks, the disc again goes back into what the album is best at with "Rock In The Rain." It's a little more of a slower track, but again it showcases the songwriting skills of Mark. It's almost as if he's taken some of the qualities that he learned from the Beasties and mixing them up with the more imaginitive pop sensibility of Sean Lennon (who plays bass on this disc). In putting the two together, he's come up with something that has a bit of funky-ness to it, but has sing-along qualities as well. As if all those tracks weren't enough, he then comes up with the crooners "All The People" and "I Don't Play Piano" before busting loose with the instrumental "Destroyer." It has a thudding, distorted beat and some fuzzed-out keyboard action, and it sets things up nicely for the one-two punch of "Hand In Your Head" and "Maybe I'm Dead." Both of the songs are upbeat vocal tracks that not only have catchy lyrics, but have the energy to make you sway around with them. The latter was the first track that I heard from the album, and still quite possibly the best one on it. Before closing things out, he burns things to the ground with the track "Powerhouse." The prodding lyrics are hilariously goofy, but the track thunders along with almost a breakbeat and some monster low end bass.

Overall, it's a great disc from the artist and a much better offering than his debut disc. There are still quite a few tracks that noodle along with keyboards like "Bossa Nova 101" and "Underneath It All," but even without lyrics they're hum-able and very catchy. He did used to be the Beastie Boys keyboardist, and some of them reflect their instrumental numbers they've done on albums such as Check Your Head and Ill Communication. As mentioned before, I'm surprised that at least one of the tracks didn't catch on more and make this a bigger album, but I guess that's how it goes a lot of the time with good music.

Rating: 7.5