To the 5 Boroughs
The shortest Beastie Boys album yet and also their most musically straightforward. If you liked the old skool throwback sound of Three MCs and One DJthen you're in luck because it's basically a whole record of that - rapping over simple beats based around one or two musical ideas, the tangents and genre exercises of the '90s albums nowhere to be found. Some of it works fine and the rapping is generally solid but it's a bit lazy (a Rapper's Delight sample, come on) and not really what I want or wanted from a 2000s Beastie Boys album. It's perfectly listenable for the most part but lacking the energy and sense of newness you get from listening to actual early '80s rap and to be honest I actually miss all the oddball diversions. In terms of albums I bought in 2004 out of a misguided sense of loyalty it's certainly better than, say, Orbital's Blue Album and the line drawing of the NYC skyline in the CD booklet was pretty cool but ultimately this isn't a very interesting record.