Paul's Boutique

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Paul's Boutique
Studio album by Beastie Boys
Released July 25, 1989
Recorded 1988–1989
Mario C's
(Los Angeles)
The Opium Den
The Record Plant
(New York City)
Genre Hip hop, experimental hip hop
Length 53:03
Label Capitol
Producer Beastie Boys, Dust Brothers, Mario Caldato, Jr.
Beastie Boys chronology
Licensed to Ill
(1986)
Paul's Boutique
(1989)
Check Your Head
(1992)
Singles from Paul's Boutique
  1. "Hey Ladies"
    Released: July 25, 1989
  2. "Shadrach"
    Released: October 30, 1989

Paul's Boutique is the second studio album by American hip hop group Beastie Boys, released on July 25, 1989, on Capitol Records. Featuring production by the Dust Brothers, the recording sessions for the album took place in Matt Dike's apartment and the Record Plant in Los Angeles from 1988 to 1989, after which the recordings underwent mixing at the Record Plant in Los Angeles. Subsequent remixes were done at the Manhattan-based Record Plant Studios. The album is noted for being almost completely composed of samples, excluding the group's vocal output.

Paul's Boutique was initially considered a commercial failure by the executives at Capitol Records, as its sales did not match that of the group's previous record, Licensed to Ill, and the label eventually decided to stop promoting the album. The album's popularity continued to grow, however, and it has since been touted as a breakthrough achievement for the Beastie Boys. Highly varied lyrically and sonically, Paul's Boutique secured the Beastie Boys' place as critical favorites in the hip-hop genre. The album's rankings near the top of many publications' "best albums" lists in disparate genres has given Paul's Boutique critical recognition as a landmark album in hip hop.[1]

On January 27, 1999, Paul's Boutique was certified double platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America.[2] In 2003, the album was ranked number 156 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[3] The album was re-released in a 20th anniversary package remastered in 24-bit audio and featuring a commentary track on January 27, 2009.[4]

Background[edit]

Derided as one-hit wonders and estranged from their original producer, Rick Rubin, and record label, Def Jam, the Beastie Boys were in self-imposed exile in Los Angeles during early 1988 and were written off by most music critics before even beginning to record their second studio album, Paul's Boutique.[5] Following the commercial success of Licensed to Ill, the Beastie Boys were focusing on making an album with more creative depth and less commercial material.[5] The group's previous album had been enormously popular and received critical acclaim among both mainstream and hip hop music critics, although its simple, heavy beats and comically juvenile lyrics led it to be labeled as frat hip hop.[5] The group signed with Capitol Records and EMI Records.[5]

Production[edit]

"The Sounds of Science" contains samples of several Beatles songs.

"Shake Your Rump" contains several 70s and 80s funk songs.

Problems playing these files? See media help.

Put together on samplers with tiny memories, small fragments of staggeringly disparate musics drop in, then are snatched away abruptly; rhythms and melodies remain in focus as textures and sounds constantly shift.

Mojo[6]

Paul's Boutique was produced with the Dust Brothers, whose extensive, innovative use of sampling helped establish the practice of multi-layered sampling as an art in itself. While the Dust Brothers were set on making a hit record, the duo agreed with the group on producing a more experimental and sonically different record.[5] In total, 105 songs were sampled on the album, including 24 individual samples on the last track alone. The backing tracks were allegedly produced with the intention of being released as a Dust Brothers instrumental album, but the Beastie Boys convinced the duo to use the tracks as the basis of their follow up to Licensed to Ill.[5][7]

Contrary to popular belief, most of the sampling for Paul's Boutique was cleared, but at dramatically lower costs compared to today's prevailing rates.[7] A 2005 article by Paul Tingen about The Dust Brothers reveals that "most of the samples used on Paul's Boutique were cleared, easily and affordably, something that [...] would be 'unthinkable' in today's litigious music industry."[7] Mario "Mario C" Caldato, Jr., engineer on the album, later said in an interview that "after [Beastie Boys] did Paul's Boutique we realized we had spent a lot of money in the studio. We had spent about a $1/4 million in rights and licensing for samples."[8] This type of sampling was only possible before Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records Inc., the landmark lawsuit against Biz Markie by Gilbert O'Sullivan, which changed the process and future of hip hop sampling.

Speaking about the album 20 years on, Adam Yauch told Clash magazine,

The Dust Brothers had a bunch of music together, before we arrived to work with them. As a result, a lot of the tracks come from songs they'd planned to release to clubs as instrumentals – "Shake Your Rump," for example. They'd put together some beats, basslines and guitar lines, all these loops together, and they were quite surprised when we said we wanted to rhyme on it, because they thought it was too dense. They offered to strip it down to just beats, but we wanted all of that stuff on there. I think half of the tracks were written when we got there, and the other half we wrote together." [9]

All of the songs for Paul's Boutique were recorded in Matt Dike's living room in Los Angeles,[10] with the exception of "Hello Brooklyn". The fifth part of the album's finale suite "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" was recorded at the apartment building of the Beastie Boy-member Adam Yauch, aka MCA, in Koreatown, Los Angeles. The location of recording was credited in the album liner notes as the Opium Den.[11] The recordings for Paul's Boutique were later mixed by the Dust Brothers at Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles.[5]

Packaging[edit]

The panoramic photograph of Ludlow Street by Jeremy Shatan.

The cover art and gatefold is a photograph of Ludlow Street (as shot from 99 Rivington Street), credited to Nathanial Hörnblowér, but shot by Jeremy Shatan.[12][13] With the 2009 album re-release, the photo was remastered.

Commercial performance[edit]

Upon its release, Paul's Boutique was alienated commercially for its experimental and dense sampling and lyricism, in contrast to the Beastie Boys' previous album, Licensed to Ill.[14] It was a commercial disappointment,[15] peaking at only #24 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.[16] The album received a gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America on September 22 of its release year.[2] Paul's Boutique would go on to sell over 2 million copies by 1999.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[14]
The A.V Club A[17]
Robert Christgau A[18]
Drowned in Sound 9/10[19]
Mojo 5/5 stars[6]
NME 9/10[20]
Pitchfork Media 10/10[21]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[22]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[23]
Time Out 5/5 stars[24]

In a contemporary review, David Handelman of Rolling Stone gave the album four out of five stars and complimented its "loose, fun feel", writing that "are buoyed by the deft interplay of the three voices and a poetic tornado of imagery." Handelman found the musical samples "equally far-flung" and felt that the album is "littered with bullshit tough-guy bravado, but it's clever and hilarious bullshit".[25] In his review for Playboy, Robert Christgau felt that, although it "doesn't jump you the way great rap usually does," "the Beasties and Tone-Loc's Dust Brothers have worked out a sound that sneaks up on you with its stark beats and literal-minded samples, sometimes in a disturbing way". Christgau commended them for "bearing down on the cleverest rhymes in the biz" and commented that "the Beasties concentrate on tall tales rather than boasting or dissing. In their irresponsible, exemplary way they make fun of drug misuse, racism, assault, and other real vices fools might accuse them of."[26] He later gave it an "A" grade and asserted, "give it three plays and half a j's worth of concentration, and its high-speed volubility and riffs from nowhere will amaze and delight you ... an absolutely unpretentious and unsententious affirmation of cultural diversity, of where they came from and where they went from there."[18]

Awards and accolades[edit]

A panoramic photo of Ludlow and Rivington, taken on the 25th anniversary of the album's release.

List of the album's rankings and listings on selected publications and top album lists:[1][27][28][29]

  • Ranked #5 on Slant Magazine's "Best Albums of the 1980s"[30]
  • Ranked #37 on Blender's "The 100 Greatest American Albums of All Time"
  • Ranked #2 on Ego Trip's "Hip Hop's 25 Greatest Albums by Year (1980–1998)"
  • Ranked #156 on "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time"
  • Ranked #12 on Spin's "100 Greatest Albums, 1985-2005"
  • Ranked #74 on VH1's "Top 100 Albums"
  • Ranked #98 on Q's "Q Magazine Readers' 100 Greatest Albums Ever"
  • Ranked #3 on Pitchfork Media's "Top 100 Albums of the 1980s"
  • Ranked #8 on Chris Rock's list of the "Top 25 Hip-Hop Albums"
  • Selected as one of Rolling Stone magazine's "The Essential 200 Rock Records"
  • Selected as one of TIME magazine's "100 Greatest Albums of All TIME"
  • Selected by Rhapsody as one of "The 10 Best Albums By White Rappers"[31]

Legacy[edit]

On July 26, 2014, mural artist Danielle Mastrion created a mural in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Beastie Boys' landmark album Paul's Boutique. It was painted on the corner of Ludlow and Rivington, where the original album cover was photographed.

In retrospect, the album has also gone on to receive much critical acclaim and has been recognized as a landmark album in hip-hop.[citation needed] NME found the album to "still [be] an electrifying blast of cool" in a 1994 review, viewing it as a "younger incarnation" of Ill Communication.[20] Mojo asserted that the album "shredded the rulebook" and called it "one of the most inventive rap albums ever made".[6] In a 2003 review, Rolling Stone gave it five stars and called it "a celebration of American junk culture that is still blowing minds today - even fourteen years of obsessive listening can't exhaust all the musical and lyrical jokes crammed into Paul's Boutique".[22] Mark Kemp of Rolling Stone also gave the album five stars in a 2009 review, calling it a "hip-hop masterpiece".[32] Nate Patrin of Pitchfork Media dubbed it "a landmark in the art of sampling, a reinvention of a group that looked like it was heading for a gimmicky early dead-end, and a harbinger of the pop-culture obsessions and referential touchstones that would come to define the ensuing decades' postmodern identity".[21] In a review of the album for AllMusic, contributor Stephen Thomas Erlewine summed the initial reaction to Paul's Boutique and praised the density that the album contains:

Musically, few hip-hop records have ever been so rich; it's not just the recontextulations of familiar music via samples, it's the flow of each song and the album as a whole, culminating in the widescreen suite that closes the record. Lyrically, the Beasties have never been better — not just because their jokes are razor-sharp, but because they construct full-bodied narratives and evocative portraits of characters and places. Few pop records offer this much to savor, and if Paul's Boutique only made a modest impact upon its initial release, over time its influence could be heard through pop and rap, yet no matter how its influence was felt, it stands alone as a record of stunning vision, maturity, and accomplishment.[14]

Miles Davis said that he never got tired of listening to Paul's Boutique.[33] Later, in a VIBE interview of all three Beastie Boys, Chuck D of Public Enemy was quoted as saying that the "dirty secret" among the black hip-hop community at the time of release was that "Paul's Boutique had the best beats."[34] During the same VIBE interview, Mike D was asked about any possible hesitation he or the band might have had regarding their overt "sampling" of several minutes of well-known Beatles background tracks, including the song "The End" on "The Sounds of Science". He claimed that the Beatles filed preliminary legal papers, and that his response was "What's cooler than getting sued by the Beatles?"[35]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by the Beastie Boys and the Dust Brothers[14] (Mike Diamond, Adam Horovitz, Adam Yauch, John King, Mike Simpson).

No. Title Length
1. "To All the Girls"   1:29
2. "Shake Your Rump"   3:19
3. "Johnny Ryall"   3:00
4. "Egg Man"   2:57
5. "High Plains Drifter"   4:13
6. "The Sounds of Science"   3:11
7. "3-Minute Rule"   3:39
8. "Hey Ladies"   3:47
9. "5-Piece Chicken Dinner"   0:23
10. "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun"   3:28
11. "Car Thief"   3:39
12. "What Comes Around"   3:07
13. "Shadrach"   4:07
14. "Ask for Janice"   0:11
15. "B-Boy Bouillabaisse"   12:33
Japanese bonus tracks[36]
No. Title Length
16. "33% God"   3:53
17. "Dis Yourself in '89 (Just Do It)"   3:29

Charts[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[37] 14
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[38] 24

Personnel[edit]

  • Beastie Boys – Producer
  • Allen Abrahamson – Assistant Engineer
  • Mario Caldato Jr. – Engineer
  • Mike Simpson – Producer, Turntables, Ensemble
  • The Dust Brothers – Producer
  • Matt Dike – Ensemble
  • Ricky Powell – Photography
  • Jeremy Shatan – Photography
  • Nathaniel Hörnblowér – Photography
  • Dominick Watkins – Photography

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Paul's Boutique". AcclaimedMusic.net. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "American album certifications – Beastie Boys – Paul%27s Boutique". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 26 August 2008.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  3. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone (Straight Arrow) (Special Issue). 156) Paul's Boutique. November 2003. ISSN 0035-791X. Archived from the original on 9 November 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2008. 
  4. ^ "Paul's Boutique - 20th Anniversary Remastered Edition". InSound.com. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g LeRoy, Dan (2006). The Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique (33 1/3). Continuum International. pp. 54–59. ISBN 978-0-8264-1741-1. Retrieved 6 October 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c "Review: Paul's Boutique". Mojo: 118, 125. June 2000. 
  7. ^ a b c Tingen, Paul (May 2005). "The Dust Brothers: Sampling, Remixing & The Boat Studio". Sound on Sound (Cambridge, UK: SOS Publications Group). ISSN 1473-5326. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Burke, Darron (January 2002). Barnes, Joyce, ed. "Interview with Mario Caldato, Jr. – March 2001". Tape Op Magazine (Sacramento, CA). OCLC 55533380. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "The Beastie Boys Interview Preview". clashmusic.com(subscription required)
  10. ^ "Paul's Boutique (1989 LP)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  11. ^ LeRoy, Dan (2006). The Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique (33 1/3). Continuum International. pp. 100–106. ISBN 9780826417411. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  12. ^ Carlson, Jen (2006-04-19). "NYC Album Art: Paul's Boutique". Gothamist. Retrieved 2014-01-16. 
  13. ^ "New York Minute » In Search Of Paul's Boutique". Nyminute.blog.arte.tv. 2009-12-29. Retrieved 2014-01-16. 
  14. ^ a b c d Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  15. ^ Lozaw, Tristram. "Paul's Boutique". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on December 23, 2012. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Paul's Boutique > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums" at AllMusic. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  17. ^ "Beastie Boys: Paul’s Boutique: 20th Anniversary Edition · The A.V. Club". Avclub.com. 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2014-01-16. 
  18. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide Album: Paul's Boutique". Robert Christgau. Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  19. ^ Anonymous, Adam (18 February 2009). "Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  20. ^ a b "Review: Paul's Boutique". NME (London): 46. November 19, 1994. 
  21. ^ a b Patrin, Nate (13 February 2009). "Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  22. ^ a b "Review: Paul's Boutique". Rolling Stone (New York): 65. February 6, 2003. 
  23. ^ "Beastie Boys: Album Guide | Rolling Stone Music". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2014-01-16. 
  24. ^ DiCrescenzo, Brent (16 February 2009). "Beastie Boys". Time Out Chicago (Time Out). Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  25. ^ Handelman, David (25 July 1989). "Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique". Rolling Stone (Straight Arrow). ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  26. ^ Christgau, Robert (May 1989). "Review: Paul's Boutique". Playboy. 
  27. ^ "Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork Media. 20 November 2002. 003: Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique. Archived from the original on 2 April 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  28. ^ "Chris Rock's 25 Hip Hop Albums". RateYourMusic.com. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  29. ^ Tyrangiel, Josh (2 November 2006). "Paul's Boutique". The All-TIME 100 Albums. Time.com. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  30. ^ "Best Albums of the 1980s | Music". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  31. ^ "The 10 Best Albums By White Rappers". Rhapsody. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  32. ^ Kemp, Mark (February 19, 2009). "Paul's Boutique: 20th Anniversary Remastered Edition". Rolling Stone (New York). Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  33. ^ Whalen, Nancy (6 April 1994). "Gathering Dust". BAM (Oakland, CA). OCLC 56556937. 
  34. ^ "Shake, Shake, Shake. Shake your Boutique". A Story To Tell. twelvebar.com. 11 January 2007. Archived from the original on 13 October 2008. 
  35. ^ Pollicino, Raul. "The Sounds of Science". Song Spotlight. BeastieMania.com. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  36. ^ "ポールズ・ブティック [Extra tracks]" [Paul's Boutique [Extra tracks]] (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  37. ^ "Beastie Boys Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for Beastie Boys. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  38. ^ "Beastie Boys Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for Beastie Boys. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 19, 2013.