All-Time Favorite Albums - WEEK 4
Updated: Jul 26
How I ever convinced myself to do a blog for these is quite....amazing actually. What amounts to approximately a five minute read, takes me about 2-3 hours to write. I tried, I really, really did. No matter how much I pushed myself to at least get caught up on these "Days" list, time just kept on slipping away. I decided instead of fighting it, and getting all bent out of shape, why not just make it a weekly thing? As we kickoff Summer 18' this Memorial Day Weekend, feel free to enjoy some leisurely reading about music from yours truly. As always, thanks for stopping by!
In case you missed my first round of albums and are curious, you can find them here:
Week 4 The Beastie Boys- "Paul's Boutique" Released July 25th, 1989
Summer of 89', their heavily anticipated second album just dropped and boy was I amped is putting it mildly.
I popped my headphones on and hit play....
What the hell is THIS 💩?!?!
This 15 year old boy was devastated. This thing came no where to meeting my expectations and that was the end of that.
Grunge was at its peak, beginning its journey on its downward slope. Alternative styles started to make its way through my college scene, and their third and fourth records couldn't get played enough.
A dear friend of mine and I were having a discussion about them, and he said something to this effect:
"You know, you should go back and revisit it. Your ears and taste musically are light years ahead of where you were then. You may even surprise yourself. "
I think it was the summer of 95', and like I did when I was 15, this now 21 year old popped that shit in, hit play...
OMG!! How in the HELL did I think this was 💩?!?! This is pure genius!
Where to begin? Saying that this album is a tour de force is putting it mildly. It was not a commercial success at first, because really, Capitol Records had no idea how to promote it. While well received critically, even that couldn't help push it past its predecessor, "License to ill".
This thing gained its sea legs by doing the looooong slog of momentum. With the benefit of hind sight, "Paul's Boutique" is credited to pushing hip-hop forward into the 90's.
So much has been said about it, I can't even begin to do it justice. Instead, I'm going to source quotes about it.
From its Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul%27s_Boutique
Often called the "Sgt. Pepper of hip-hop", the album's rankings near the top of many publications' "best albums" lists in disparate genres has given Paul's Boutique critical recognition as a landmark album in hip hop.
Derided as one-hit wonders and estranged from their original producer, Rick Rubin, and record label, Def Jam, the Beastie Boys were in self-imposed exile in Los Angeles during early 1988 and were written off by most music critics before even beginning to record their second studio album, Paul's Boutique. Following the commercial success of Licensed to Ill, the Beastie Boys were focusing on making an album with more creative depth and less commercial material. The group's previous album had been enormously popular and received critical acclaim among both mainstream and hip hop music critics, although its simple, heavy beats and comically juvenile lyrics led it to be labeled as frat hip hop. The group signed with Capitol Records and EMI Records.
In a contemporary review, David Handelman from Rolling Stone said the songs are "buoyed by the deft interplay of the three voices and a poetic tornado of imagery", featuring "equally far-flung" musical samples on an album that is "littered with bullshit tough-guy bravado, but it's clever and hilarious bullshit". Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune commended the Dust Brothers' "deft" production and the Beastie Boys' rhymes, which he called "hilarious, vicious, surreal, snotty." Writing for Playboy, Robert Christgau said although it "doesn't jump you the way great rap usually does," "the Beasties and Tone-Loc's Dust Brothers have worked out a sound that sneaks up on you with its stark beats and literal-minded samples, sometimes in a disturbing way". He commended them for "bearing down on the cleverest rhymes in the biz" and wrote, "the Beasties concentrate on tall tales rather than boasting or dissing. In their irresponsible, exemplary way they make fun of drug misuse, racism, assault, and other real vices fools might accuse them of." In a retrospective review, he said the record's "high-speed volubility and riffs from nowhere will amaze and delight you", calling it "an absolutely unpretentious and unsententious affirmation of cultural diversity, of where [the group] came from and where they went from there."
That's just ONE page. Granted, it sights other sources too, but man....talk about wow. And to think I thought it was 💩the first time I heard it. 🤦♂️
The genius lies two fold. One cannot exist without the other. The breathing taking art of sampling, combined with that Beastie Boys prose, makes this the masterpiece that it's so revered.
I tried looking up the sample list. Yeah, good luck finding something that's literally an encyclopedia of who's who.
I found two, which I link here:
The Vinyl Factory
And here, a fan base compilation that's not official, but pretty well done.
Paul's Boutique Info
In today's landscape, it will be awhile, if ever we're so fortunate to hear something like this. Pre-existing before today's laws, it's a miracle it got made. Legend ( or Urban Legend, I'm not sure) has it that this IS the record that brought those laws into effect.
You'll excuse me for not doing my track breakdown. The above links say all I could say and then some. If you never listened to this or haven't popped this record on in a minute, you'll not only be in for a pleasant surprise and a trip down memory lane ( for those of us to be *cough* old enough) but the sheer knowledge you will gain from just listening to the whirlwind of samples, will only add to your musical palette.