The Beastie Boys–Paul’s Boutique

Yes, you read that title right. It’s time for another installment in my adventures of listening through Tom Moon’s book, 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die. Except in this case, I respectfully disagree with Mr. Moon. I could have waited until long after I died to listen to this one. There was a time in my past when, if a Beastie Boys “song” came on the radio, I would automatically switch the station. It’s not quite that bad any more. I even sort of like tolerate some of them now. Kind of like Greenday. There’s one Greenday song that I won’t change the station for. But that’s a different topic for a different day. But then, I had to listen to an entire Beastie Boys album!

Here’s the problem. There’s basically one chord. There’s basically one rhythm. So, while tolerable for a few minutes at a time on the radio, listening to an entire album of over ten songs, sounds like one, continuous, torturous, 45-minute “song.” (I use the word “song” very loosely, here.) Even though this is regarded by some (including Mr. Moon) to be their best album, I can’t find one song on it that I recognize as getting any radio play. Let me qualify right here that I don’t for a minute think that radio play equals quality. I’m long over that idea. I believe that “payola” is still alive and well when it comes to radio. Nevertheless, I only know Beastie Boys songs that have been on the radio, and I didn’t recognize any of these.

The caption for the article says, “Great Beats, Astute Rhymes from Hip-Hop’s Heyday.” Shouldn’t that be “Great beat” (singular)? Now…let me say something positive about these “boys.” I admit that they are clever. They are unique. Their rhyming is clever, I’ll give them that. And the way they switch voices in the middle of a phrase has always been entertaining. But they are crass and, at times, obscene, which knocks them down considerably in my book. I don’t need that to be entertained. I will admit that, every now and then, I enjoy some crass entertainment. But not very often, and not consistently.

Moon’s key tracks for this one are “Shake Your Rump,” “Hey Ladies,” “Egg Man,” and “Looking Down the Barrel of A Gun.” In keeping with the spirit of my blog, here’s a youtube clip of “Hey Ladies.” I don’t think it has any bad words in it, but I might have missed one.

TTFN, ya’ll!

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2 thoughts on “The Beastie Boys–Paul’s Boutique

  1. I’ve got to respectfully disagree with you on this one. Now, you’ve made some good points I can’t argue with (sexist and crude lyrics, very solid theme throughout) but I disagree with the accusation that this is just one beat. One of the best parts of this album is the huge array of samples used by the band to create the beats. So while there is a very similar tempo throughout, the beat changes multiple times in each song. And the switching singers in the middle of a lyric (I believe considered “Manhattan style”) is so good as to be stunning. Listen to “The Sounds of Science” in particular for a song that changed the game when it comes to rap (at least for me, more than a decade after the original release). Green Day’s “Dookie,” by the way, is a great album for running because they really do use the same beat for 45 minutes straight. Anyway, Paul’s Boutique is not for everyone, but I had to weigh in with my opinion: it’s their best, if you ask me.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I appreciate a well thought out disagreement. Perhaps I didn’t listen closely enough (I was at work while listening to this). I do like their singer-switching…I’ve always thought that was unique. And I’ll admit…I’m a little ignorant when it comes to rap styles, having never been a huge fan of the genre. I’ll give another listen to “The Sounds of Science,” and try to be a little more discerning.

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