Paul's Boutique by Beastie Boys

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Paul's Boutique by Beastie Boys
Paul's Boutique by Beastie Boys

Album Released: 1989


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1.To All The Girls1:29
2.Shake Your Rump3:19
3.Johnny Ryall3:00
4.Egg Man2:57
5.High Plains Drifter4:13
6.The Sounds Of Science3:11
7.3-Minute Rule3:39
8.Hey Ladies3:47
9.5-Piece Chicken Dinner0:23
10.Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun3:28
11.Car Thief3:39
12.What Comes Around3:07
14.Ask For Janice0:11
15.B-Boy Bouillabaisse12:33


An album so much better than the album it followed it's ridiculous!

Enter The Dust Brothers on production duties - I guess they had something to do with the change in the musical landscape here, and The Beasties themselves learnt from The Dust Brothers in the process. This album is so different from its predecessor it's really no surprise it sold only a tiny fraction of the copies.

The Beastie Boys get serious here. Only to an extent though, Paul's Boutique is still very playful, and the lyrics remain 'characteristic'! There's so much going on musically across many of these tracks it does take some time to sink in. Whilst there's no obvious stand-out track, pretty much all of them bar the opener and closer have something positive.

The opening track is too short, the closing track too long, eventually descending into snatches of ideas, short fragments, none of which tie together. But, lets not talk about the bad things, the rest of this album is great!

"Shake Your Rump" opens with much improved rapping from the Beasties, then goes all funk and groove, samples galore, electronic joy. "Johnny Ryall" is similarly full of sound and ideas. "Egg Man" is a favourite of mine, with all sorts of things going on, and it just pounds (I'm doing a lousy job of describing this album, aren't I? Oh well, no matter!) - "Egg Man" makes me smile, the lyrics and their delivery are really funny.

"High Plains Drifter" is a more regular rap-type of song, although still full of snatches of interesting sound effects atop a single repeating groove. "The Sounds of Science" sounds weird and Jazzy, and whilst the vocals don't take themselves seriously, they aren't irritating for a single second, something is happening - clever production-wise, stupid in concept, but such a joyous thing! The interweaving samples are well done, it's hard to imagine them being better.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)

Beginning their career as a hardcore band, the Beastie Boys switched to rap when it became popular in the mid-1980's, and enjoyed a surprise hit in 1986 with the obnoxious "Fight for Your Right", whose accompanying album Licensed To Ill was at one point the biggest-selling rap album of all time.

But the Beastie Boys had been largely written off as a one hit wonder, before they returned with this more sophisticated and groundbreaking album.

Paul's Boutique is a lot more palatable, with attractive layers of samples courtesy of the Dust Brothers. A lot of the album is melodic and inflected with pop sensibilities, such that even the most hardened rap cynic may enjoy the hilariously countrified "Hey Ladies".

A further endearing trait of Paul's Boutique is its sense of popular music heritage ... Bob Dylan is quoted in "Johnny Ryall" (he ain't gonna work on Maggie's Farm no more), Johnny Cash turns up briefly in the closing suite, while the guitars from The Beatles' "The End" are sampled in "The Sounds of Science".

Despite the musical changes though, the Beastie Boys are still as bratty as ever. At one point they rhyme cellular with hell you were, and clever though obnoxious one-liners abound, such as I'm madder than Mad's Alfred E. Newman, and I've got the girlies in the coupe like the Colonel's got the chickens.

Whilst some of the more abrasive material, such as "Lookin' Down the Barrel of a Gun", is not as enjoyable as the more pop-oriented songs, there is plenty to enjoy and admire on Paul's Boutique - the closing suite alone contains enough musical ideas to populate an entire album.

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by Reviewer: Fyfeopedia (blogging at Fyfeopedia [Defunct])

I figure that after the success of Licensed to Ill, the backlash against the Beastie Boys was pretty predictable ...

Three upper-class Jewish guys sample a bunch of old-school 70's metal riffs, yell about beer and chicks in obnoxious voices, over beats produced for them by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, to create the best-selling rap album of the decade. So how is the wider hip-hop community supposed to take that?

After getting sued by Rubin over who was actually responsible for the success of Licensed to Ill, the Beasties gave their label Def Jam the finger, signed with Capitol, flew out to L.A., hooked up with the Dust Brothers, and released something about as far removed from Licensed to Ill as possible.

Paul's Boutique COMPLETELY tanked upon release, and was slammed by critics eager to paint the Jewish frat boys who'd sung that “Girls” novelty song as no-talent one-hit douches (probably the same critics who wrote glowing reviews of The Rolling Stones’ Steel Wheels that same year). But the album cultivated a small but fiercely loyal following in the years after its release, such that it's now hailed as not only one of the greatest rap records of all time, but one of the greatest records of all time period.

Whilst I wouldn't say this album is one of the greatest of all time (after all, I’m a honky white guy who doesn’t understand the hippety-hoppity music), it is probably one of the best rap records I’ve heard (I’ve heard like, maybe 20), and it's my favorite Beasties album as well, despite a few tracks that blow out loud and so prevent a higher rating.

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by Reviewer: BRAD