Sabotage Beastie Boys Song Meaning

Some songs become famous because of the beautiful melody. Others are hugely popular due to cool text. In the most successful cases, music and words perfectly complement each other. But it also happens that a catchy video clip makes a song a hit.

Beastie Boys fans may not agree with me, but the track Sabotage would hardly have become an international hit without the hilarious video that received heavy rotation on MTV.

The history of creation and the meaning of the song Sabotage Beastie Boys

The song was released in an instrumental version. Adam Yauch composed a heavily fuzzy bass riff, and the song stayed that way for about a year. The vocal part was recorded only a couple of weeks before Ill Communication was finished.

In Rhyming & Stealing: A History of the Beastie Boys, Angus Batey called the lyrics to Sabotage “clearly nonsensical”. Like it or not – decide for yourself.

Release and achievements

Sabotage was released as the first single from the album Ill Communication (1994).

Rolling Stone ranked Sabotage at number 480 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Q magazine ranked it #46 on their Top 100 Guitar Tracks. It is also featured in several lists of the most famous songs of the nineties.

Clip Sabotage Beastie Boys

The music video was directed by then-not-so-famous director Spike Jonze. Adam Horowitz invited the band members to do a photo session in which they would appear as cops. Later, a clip was born from this idea, parodying police films and TV shows of the seventies. In it, the musicians appear in chic images of characters from the fictional reality show Sabotage.

In 1994, the video clip Sabotage by the Beastie Boys was nominated for five categories at the MTV Video Music Awards, but did not receive a single award. But in 2009 he won the Best Video (That Should Have Won a Moonman) nomination.

Interesting Facts

  • The working title of the instrumental version of the song was Chris Rock.
  • Watergate, which is discussed in the first verse, is a high-profile political scandal in the United States. Because of him, President Richard Nixon was forced to resign.
  • The song’s lyrics also mention Buddy Rich, a jazz drummer who tops Rhythm Magazine’s list of the most influential drummers of all time.
  • MTV played a stripped-down version of the video, from which the most violent scenes were removed.
  • After the September 11 attacks, Sabotage was included in the list of 150 songs that the Clear Channel Corporation (the world’s largest radio network) recommended not to air, so as not to hurt the feelings of the victims.
  • The Beastie Boys Video Anthology includes a joke interview with the “stars” of the show Sabotage. He is taken by the now famous director Sofia Coppola, who at that time was the wife of Spike Jonze.

Sabotage Beastie Boys lyrics

I can’t stand it I know you planned it
I’ma set it straight, this Watergate
I can’t stand rocking when I’m in here
Cause your crystal ball ain’t so crystal clear
So while you sit back and wonder why
I got this f*cking thorn in my side
Oh my god, it’s a mirage
I’m tellin’ y’all it’s sabotage

So listen up cause you can’t say nothin’
You’ll shut me down with a push of your button
But yo I’m out and I’m gone
I’ll tell you now I keep it on and on

Cause what you see you might not get
And we can bet so don’t you get souped yet
You’re scheming on a thing that’s a mirage
I’m trying to tell you now it’s sabotage

Why?
Our backs are now against the wall
Listen to all of y’all it’s a sabotage
Listen to all of y’all it’s a sabotage
Listen to all of y’all it’s a sabotage
Listen to all of y’all it’s a sabotage

I can’t stand it, I know you planned it
I’ma set it straight, this Watergate
But I can’t stand rockin’ when I’m in this place
Because I feel disgraced because you’re all in my face
But make no mistakes and switch up my channel
I’m Buddy Rich when I fly off the handle
What could it be, it’s a mirage
You’re scheming on a thing – that’s sabotage

Sabotage Beastie Boys lyrics

I can’t stand it and I know you planned it
I’ll fix this Watergate
I can’t calm down when I’m here
‘Cause your crystal ball isn’t so crystal clear
And while you sit and wonder
What always pisses me off
Oh god it’s a mirage
I tell you all, this is sabotage

So listen close cause you got nothing to say
You stop me by pressing the button
But I got out and disappeared
I tell you I will keep on going

‘Cause you can’t have everything you see
And we can bet you’re brainwashed
You plot in what is only a mirage
I’m trying to tell you it’s sabotage

What for?
We’re backed against the wall
Listen all of you: this is sabotage
Listen all of you: this is sabotage
Listen all of you: this is sabotage
Listen all of you: this is sabotage

I can’t stand it and I know you planned it
I’ll fix this Watergate
I can’t calm down when I’m here
‘Cause I feel humiliated because I can see right through you
But make no mistake and switch to my wave
I’m the real Buddy Rich when I lose control
What could it be? It’s a mirage
You weave intrigues – this is sabotage

Song quote

Sabotage is essentially a ridiculous action movie condensed into a three-minute single, a powerful paranoid fantasy presented as an ongoing and adrenaline-filled stream of car chases, fights and explosions.

Matthew Perpetua

Buy Me A Coffee
Rate article
Add a comment