Sorry to Break This to You, But the Beasties Boys’ Paul’s Boutique Turned 25 on Friday

I remember when the album came into the radio station back in the summer of  ’89.  All of us–and I mean ALL of us–were expecting (and hoping for) Licensed to Ill Part 2.  Instead we got–well, we weren’t sure what this was.

It was so…complicated.  Samples coming at us every second.  Complicated rhymes that were far beyond something like “Girls” or “Fight for Your Right.”  Beats that skewed further to the hip hop side of the spectrum.  Even “Hey Ladies” (the so-called “hit”) was just okay.

We hated it.  And so did a lot of fans.  Paul’s Boutique was viewed as a commercial and artistic disappointment.  And we were all wrong. Very wrong.

The problem was that the record was so far ahead of its time that we just couldn’t comprehend its genius.  But as time passed, we all began to appreciate what an amazing record this was.  The sophistication of the sampling. The cleverness of the rhymes. The well-constructed beats.  The damn thing was a masterpiece.  It just took us a while to figure that out.

Paul’s Boutique turned 25 years old on Friday (July 25).  In honour of that, the location of the fake Paul’s Boutique on the cover is going to be adorned with a special mural.  About time.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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