Review: Jack Foley
GEORGE Bush seems to be taking flack from all sides, of late,
as more and more artists see fit to deliver pot-shots at his administration
and its policies (most notably on the environment and the war
Having been forced to watch as Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit
9/11 made cinema history by becoming the highest-grossing
documentary of all-time, the US president is now ‘taking
shit’ from The Beastie Boys, the no-less controversial hip-hoppers,
who have a penchant for telling it like they see it.
Their latest album, which takes the form of a love letter to
New York, post 9/11, is fittingly entitled To The Five Boroughs,
includes a sketch of the Twin Towers on its cover, and, almost
inevitably, contains some explosive commentary on the political
Hence, listeners can expect to hear lyrics such as 'We've
got a president we didn't elect/the Kyoto treaty he decided to
reject/and still the US just wants to flex...', on tracks
such as Time To Build, which show the boys have lost
none of their famed lyrical dexterity.
The same sort of sentiment is echoed in Right Right Now Now,
which contains the frustrated lyrics, I'm getting kind of
tired of the situation / The U.S. attacking other nations, and
narration, and every station.
But while they may be approaching 40, and their subject matter
may be more mature, the good news is that the Beastie Boys still
no how to party, and their sound remains as essential as it did
all those many moons ago.
And where once they were fighting for their right to party, they
now seem content to fight to be heard, having become intolerant
of the political situation in a battle-scarred America.
To The Five Boroughs packs quite a provocative punch,
while also harking back to the sound we grew up… and which
helped to make them famous.
Gone is the electronic sound of Hello Nasty (which found
them at their most experimental), and back is the freestyle, cheeky
rhymes of old, combined with the trademark drum-heavy loops. This
is old school hip-hop which attempts to recall the Beasties at
That said, the album isn’t purely about the politics, opting,
at times, to extol the virtues of New York City, and coming across
as a fond appreciation of their home city (never more so than
during the sentimental lyrics of An Open Letter…).
The old-school style is also apparent in tracks such as Triple
Trouble (which features a timeless sample of a hip-hop classic),
as well as former single, Ch-Check It Out, which effortlessly
rediscovers the Boys’ style of old, and has subsequently
been picked up as bedding music for many a TV montage.
To The Five Boroughs may possess an air of familiarity
about it, and the novelty value of the Boys may have diminished,
but it remains an excellent album - and one which emphasis the
gulf between the all-time hip-hop elite, and those who continue
to strive for success by opting for cheap shock tactics.
The album may carry some serious messages, but it never forgets
to provide some fun along the way.
1. Ch-Check It Out
2. Right Right Now Now
3. 3 The Hard Way
4. Time To Build
5. Rhyme The Rhyme Well
6. Triple Trouble
7. Hey Fuck You
8. Oh Word?
9. That's It That's All
10. All Life Styles
12. An Open Letter To NYC
14. The Brouhaha
15. We Got The