More than a decade after they first fought for their right to legitimacy, the Beastie Boys have finally received the treatment that befits the righteous rock-'n'-roll institution they've become: an anthology. By buffering classic cuts (from "Slow and Low" to "Intergalactic") with the spoofs and goofs that made them fun to grow up with, this two-disc greatest hits, misses, and disses album defines a life force that's made them bad like the Stones and as cuddly as the Beatles. Along with virtually every standard in the Beasties' catalog ("Shake Your Rump," "Fight for Your Right," "Skills to Pay the Bills," "So Whatcha Want," "Sabotage," Fatboy Slim's remix of "Body Movin' "), this set offers a new track ("Alive") and a bunch of rare stuff, like two country spoofs ("Country Mike's Theme" and "Railroad Blues"), the spacey anti-drug anthem "Live Wire," as well as some funk jams, lounge hams, and good 'ol hardcore slop. But the absolute, drop-dead classic is a version of "Benny and the Jets" (with Biz Markie
on vocals), which predates Mary J. Blige
's also-brilliant take on the Elton John
pop classic and ranks among the most inspired covers ever recorded. Throw in the great new single, "Alive," which praises the beauty of free-living while taking aim at the health-care industry, and you've got a promise of righteous fighting for decades to come.