After a six-year hiatus, the Beastie Boys return with To the 5 Boroughs and alternately position themselves as pop culture bottom feeders and political pedants. While anti-Bush screeds "That's It That's All" and "Time to Build" come across as heavy-handed, the terse "Open Letter to NYC" does manage to channel that city's post-9/11 resolve without sounding like a Bruce Springsteen song. When the Beasties aren't didactic, they're tapping nostalgia: The album's production has a bottom-heavy electro sheen that recalls early '80s hip-hop; irreverent party rocking jams such as "All Lifestyles," "Three the Hard Way" and "Ch-Check It Out" name-drop throwback icons Fred Sanford, Jabba the Hutt and Mr. Furley. It's obviously nothing new for the Boys, and much of the album does reek of self-cannibalization, but Boroughs is comfort food for the diehard fans -- and at this point that's all we can expect or even want.
Recommended For You
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!