Contact Us

When the Beastie Boys Released Their Masterpiece, ‘Paul’s Boutique’

'Paul's Boutique'
Capitol

When we ranked the Beastie Boys‘ catalog as part of our ongoing Worst to First series, we had no problem playing Paul’s Boutique in the No. 1 spot. Today, July 25, we celebrate this iconic record’s anniversary by looking back at its legacy with Tim Karan‘s defense of its top ranking. You can see our complete Worst to First for the Beasties’ discography at the bottom of this story.

While Licensed to Ill provided the archetype for all Beastie Boys music (and arguably all pop music) to follow, 1989’s Paul’s Boutique is the act’s true artistic triumph.

A commercial disappointment upon its release, it’s a scrapbook of pop culture touchstones both obscure and overt with sampling on a scale the world had never seen before. The Beasties created it on the West Coast with help from the Dust Brothers following an ugly divorce from Def Jam, but Paul’s Boutique is actually an unabashed homage to New York City in the ’80s complete with street-level storytelling; filthy, window-rattling bass; and industrial loops and jarring sound effects that create an aural depiction of NYC from afar and a veritable cavalcade of American junk culture.

Subscribe to Diffuser.fm on

But acclaim for the album would come mostly in retrospect as the rest of the world finally caught up to the post-modern art the B-Boys pioneered with “Hey Ladies,” “Shake Your Rump,” “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun” and other deeper cuts that showcase more texture, lyrical dexterity and nuance than anything anyone creates even now – and that’s with the benefit of already having Paul’s Boutique as a blueprint.

Subscribe to Diffuser.fm on

Worst to First: Every Beastie Boys Album Ranked

Next: Top 10 Adam Yauch Lyrics

Recommended For You

Around the Web

Best of Diffuser

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://diffuser.fm using your original account information.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Please solve this simple math problem to prove that you are a real person.

Sign up for Diffuser.fm quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!