I have always liked the Beastie Boys and I have never been a big fan of rap. With the release of their first new album since 1998, “To the 5 Buroughs,” shows that the Beastie Boys haven’t lost a step. If you like the Beastie Boys, you won’t be disappointed with this album. Their beats are as inventive as ever, the lyrics are always clever, and the delivery is surprisingly fresh.
I love all the references the Beastie Boys make in their songs. Its like when you finally get a joke in an old Simpson’s episode. They reward their audience for thinking about their lyrics. I was surprised to recognize a sample they used in their second track, “Right Right Now Now.” The track starts out with an angry voice that says “Now get busy.” It is the voice of King Nebuchadnezzar taken from a record that I listened to as a child called, “It’s Cool in the Furnace” (the photo above shows the album art). It is a children’s musical based on the Biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. You might remember that the Beastie Boys have compared themselves to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in several previous tracks. If you want to learn more about that reference, here is an interesting essay called “A Postmodern Analysis of Beastie Boys’ Shadrach.”
The art of this album is great too. It is taken from a drawing by Matteo Pericoli. There is a very good article on the album art on City of Sound.