Reasons To The 5 Boroughs is the best Beastie Boys album since Paul's Boutique:
1) no porno funk jams. Not a single one. No instrumental filler WHAT SO EVER.
2) Fifteen tracks, 45 minutes, goes down easy.
3) Rap is what they're best at, and rap is all they do.
4) Ad-Rock is knocking out some nice, novel little keyb hooks and loops. The dude needs to dole his wares out to fellow vets and underground sensations alike. They'll be grateful.
5) I haven't heard an adult-contemporary rap album this pleasant since De La Soul's AOI: Bionix.
6) Despite the grey hairs, Beastie Boys are still for the children.
Reasons To The 5 Boroughs is the worst Beastie Boys album since Paul's Boutique:
1) Not a single classic, MUST-hear track. Nary a one.
2) Despite mucho well-meaning, nothing on the album sounds as enthusiastic as previous shots at liberalism like "Sure Shot" or "Unite," let alone as spirited as "Hey Ladies." Is it impossible to be PC and still bust out a "No Sleep Till Brooklyn"?
3) Lines about Bush would have a poor shelf-life even if they weren't poorly constructed and stilted. Awkward shit about impeaching Tex is gonna age like Yingling left out in the sun.
4) Rich rappers who take longer to make an album than I do to get a college degree have no reason to sound like they've fallen down and can't get up. It's called digital editing, MCA, ch-check it out.
5) A showboat like Mix Master Mike is too busy cutting faster to help these guys self-edit. I don't know why Mario C ain't around to keep it clean, but an objective ear is sorely missed. Compare this album to something as late as "Alive" and you'll wonder where their sense of pacing has run off to.
6) Rap is what they do best, but the melodicism revealed in Hello Nasty's "I Don't Know" and "Instant Death" is missed, especially when the beats (and their pipes) don't lend themselves to forceful chanting. Even Ian MacKaye's figured that one out.