Paul’s Boutique (20th Anniversary Edition)
What, no bonus tracks? Outtakes? Remixes? Sure, those would have been nice. But even today, after thousands of spins, the Beastie Boys’ 1989 sophomore album never ceases to offer something new, or to continue making you wonder how they were able to seamlessly put it all together. The remastered 20th anniversary edition of Paul’s Boutique simply puts the ear candy into focus. The album is undoubtedly the Beasties’ best, one that proved the Boys were becoming men—and adept rhymers, especially in the stripped-down “3-Minute Rule.” It’s also arguably one of the best hip-hop records ever put to wax. Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “MCA” Yauch and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz string together relentless rhymes loaded with cultural references (Dirty Harry, Welcome Back Kotter) and homages to New York City (Shea Stadium, Queens) and the characters who live there (Johnny Ryall, Ed Koch). Then there’s the production of the Dust Brothers (no tinniness that plagued most records in the ’80s here) and the barrage of samples (105 total, from Jaws to Johnny Cash) assures there’s never a dull moment—whether it’s the first listen or the 201st.