Weekend Listening: Paul’s Boutique by Beastie Boys
Listen while you read (volume may be loud):
Album: Paul’s Boutique by Beastie Boys
Released: 1989 (Capitol)
Recommended if you like: Sample heavy (smart) hip hop
Notable Tracks: “B-boy Bouillabaisse” (the 12+ minute final track) contains 24 of the 105 samples on the record (yes, I happen to have a HUGE ASS FOLDER that contains every sampled song, doesn’t everyone?).
Paul’s Boutique is a lot of albums for me.
It’s on my Top Five Desert Island Albums list. It’s the Greatest Hip Hop Album of All Time.
It’s the first tape I ever bought for myself (saved my birthday money and plunked it down on the counter at Music+; I’d owned other tapes before this one, but this was the first one I ever paid for with my own money and didn’t have my dad buy for me).
Paul’s Boutique is also (and this is why you’re seeing this post today, on the final day of Spring) one of my Quintessential Summer Albums, and has been for the last 25 years.
The summer it came out was the first summer I spent in Montana (I bought it right before I went there to see if moving was a good idea) and played the shit out of that tape on the giant system my mom’s husband had set up with speakers hidden in the ceiling throughout the house.
The summer I was 16, I listened to this on a boombox in the passenger seat of my Subaru station wagon cos I’d blown the speakers trying to turn something up as I hit a pothole.
The summer I was 17, this was the soundtrack to the house I stayed in with my cousin J and my best friend R. I was Ad-Rock, she was Mike D and he was MCA.
The summer I was 18, I introduced friend K to this album (she loved the Beasties, but had never heard this somehow) and we listened to it constantly in her car as we drove around Southern California.
The summer I met my husband, this became one of our first call-and-response inside jokes.
The summer I was pregnant with my oldest, this was on heavy rotation and the aforementioned friend K made my now 14y/o a Beastie Boys onesie.
Hell, the first iPod I ever owned (received for my birthday, which is in just a few days), this was the first album I added.
Every single summer, as soon as it starts getting warm, I start listening to Paul’s Boutique.
Without it, it just doesn’t feel like summer.