KMA927 Beastie Boys: The Series – Paul’s Boutique (1989)

The Preamble:

Ohmygoodness Paul’s Boutique.

It is pure Beasties. It screams 1970s sounds, and it screams New York City. It’s rare to find an album that so clearly represents it’s place and influences. Is it their greatest record? Oh man, how do you choose. But it might be. Anyway.

Hot damn, this is one HELLUVA joint! A total landmark achievement.

There’s lots about this record right here.

This site right here has laid out everything you need to know about the samples used in the songs. Well done!

The Review:

To All The Girls is a bit silly. Oh, it’s a soulful groove, and a short song, but who cares how many places they can name where girls might come from, really? ‘Cos, you know, there are girls everywhere, so if you look at it another way they’ve left out a lot of places. Unless there was some agenda as to why they shout-out the places they do? But I doubt it. They sound drunk. Whatever, we get it. You like girls. We do too!

Shake Your Rump saves us, it’s a great jam that has great drums. Man, they’re all over the place and I love it. I’ve also heard that (annoying) high-pitched “oo-uh ooh-uh” thing in later recordings from other people, so somehow this may have possibly become influential for that. But ignore that small part of the song and you’re left with a great old school Beasties freak out.

Johnny Ryall is a slinky groove that tells the story of a guy you might not wanna know. No matter, this is a song that’ll have you nodding along to it despite yourself.

Egg Man brings back the energy and speed, rapping about a silly idea and, hey, it’s the Beasties and it works. It’s a solid, driving beat.

High Plains Drifter is a (very) laid back track. I like the flow, the groove, and the woman moaning sex-like in the background. Such a simple song, but only because they make it seem easy.

The Sounds Of Science could leave you to believe it’s a toss-off, a cheap track to fill space. But let it get to 1:38 and be blown backwards by the rapid-fire rapping. Very cool.

3-Minute Rule is another slow groove, alas it never really goes anywhere. They dink around with a few effects, but it’s not their greatest effort.

Hey Ladies is one you all know, and it’s a pure party tune. Jump up and get down! Go! So funky! I love this track.

5-Piece Chicken Dinner is completely disorienting – on purpose. Banjo pickin’ and country fiddle while they guys hoot and holler in the background. Fortunately, it’s only 0:23, so I wouldn’t read too much into it except they were probably trying to show off and knock you off your balance.

Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun is so heavy. The guitar, the raps. It’s aggression, it’s… metal. That site (above) says the guitar is a chunk of Mountain’s Mississippi Queen. Cool.

Car Thief is funky enough, definitely harkening back to its influences. Tracks like this shouldn’t work, but they do.

What Comes Around is another excellent slow jam. YES! I cannot get enough of tracks like this. Great cruising music.

Shadrach is a fun track – very danceabe and with one helluva funky riff.

Ask For Janice is only 11 seconds long, an advert for Paul’s Boutique. Weird.

B-Boy Bouillabaisse is 12:34 long, so you have to know they’re gonna go out on every limb in the tree on this one. The “aw yeah!” reminded me of Young MC (“is it live, is it real AW YEAH!). It’s a verbal description of a woman doing a strip tease. Juvenile, sure. But it becomes beat-boxing, a cool group jam, then a faster dance track with phoned-in megaphone effects on the vocals. It goes back to the slow, then another funky bit, a live bit, then a return to the sweet groove from the album intro to bookmark it. Whew!

In Sum: Dammit own this. One of hip hop’s greatest. I actually had a hard time writing this one up, it’s just so good. YES!!

Pauls’ Boutique is that fucking good. I swear.


Posted on May 30, 2014, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Yeah I remember hearing Paul’s Boutique as it was released before the album came out and I was like whoooooah ……gotta get this and I did the day it came out and once you realize that it isn’t gonna be Licenese to Ill part deux this is a classic…..still occasionally listen to it…it’s good man…….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hated Hey Ladies when it came out. Now though I appreciate the album for the brilliance that it is!


  3. One of my top 5 ever – easily! Anthrax played a great cover of Looking Down the Barrel when I saw them on the White Noise tour.


  4. Can I speak to Cookie Puss?


  5. Nice review – all-time top 5 hip hop for sure!


  6. Been of the opinion for years that Paul’s was really built for the CD format, one of, if not the first cd ever produced that extended and broke side formatting practices as a rule. I can’t think of an earlier release built in such a way.

    Oh and btw after playing the hell out of this for several years between its release and say ’92 (on cd and cassette no less) it faded from my consciousness until one day in ’02, ten freakin years later I recalled the song High Plains Drifter word for word in the shower. Hours later my buddy picked me up and we rode to a ballgame and what cd did he have in his player?

    The album went right back into rotation and has remained ever since. 10 years man, 10 years!!!


    • An interesting thought, built for CD. Never crossed my mind but now I can see what you mean. Well done!

      Crazy there was such a gap between listens. But I get it, it happens. There’s so much music, and only so much time. But in your buddy’s car, that was just the Universe telling you it was well past time!


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