I am not an expert when it comes to the Beastie Boys. In fact, besides “Fight For Your Right(To Party)” and “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” I couldn’t stand the Beasties in 1986. I was a metal kid in the 7th grade that saw the Beastie Boys as a way for the jocks to feel better about getting girls drunk and taking advantage of them, picking on the geeks and nerds, and cruising in their newly bought Camaros. I think if you were to ask the late Adam Yauch he might agree with all of those assumptions, though I don’t think Yauch, Mike D, and Ad Rock’s intentions were to have the jock assholes co-opt the Beasties music. Still, I stayed away until in 1989 when I saw the video for “Hey Ladies” off of Paul’s Boutique. I don’t know if it was the heavily sampled music, the stoned flow of these Brooklyn-to-LA transplants, or if it was the extremely humorous video, but my attitude changed dramatically towards the Beastie Boys.
Fast forward to this afternoon and my recent purchase of the 20th anniversary vinyl edition of the now landmark Paul’s Boutique. In the 25 years since I first heard “Hey Ladies” on my uncle’s tv one strange weekend I have grown to absolutely love the Beasties. Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty,…all are classics. Even To the Five Boroughs and Hot Sauce Committee Part II are great examples of aging gracefully in a music world that makes it increasingly hard to do. But for my money, Paul’s Boutique is their all out masterpiece. Part cut and paste experiment, part acid kool-aid test, and a total one-of-a-kind hip hop experience. I’m not much of a hip hop fan, but I can totally get into the Beastie Boys. I think that’s their gift, really. They can cross party lines and hang with the hip hop fans, the rock, metal, and punk fans. They can hang with the gutter punks and trust fund babies. They relate to the class clown and the loner artists. I feel Paul’s Boutique stands out as this single piece of art. Stoned, trippin’, drunk ass art. The Dust Brothers really helped them achieve that filthy canvas vision they had in their heads. I won’t try and get into history and theories and passionate stances on styles and whatever. All I know is that this album makes me extremely happy. It’s a meal for the ears. A big, greasy, funky, dirty, bong water-drenched meal.
I’m not sure when this album will leave the turntable, but I can say it’ll be spinning the rest of the week. As far as the 180 gram, remastered version of the album, I’ll just say Paul’s Boutique has never sounded better. The CD version I bought back in 2003 still sounded a bit muffled and quiet(thanks third generation mastering.) But this anniversary copy sound absolutely unreal. Sounds like some classic 70s funk record pulled up from the basement and spun for the first time in 40 years. It has an amazing analog punch, and through my all analog Onkyo receiver it just sound so freakin’ good.
All right, time to flip the record.