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Paul's Boutique (33⅓ #30)

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  617 ratings  ·  82 reviews
Not only did "Paul's Boutique" transform the Beastie Boys from frat-boy
novelty to critically lauded hip-hop giants, its groundbreaking collage
of rhythm and recycled soundbites made it one of those rare releases
that forever alters the course of popular music. Through interviews with
Mike D, the Dust Brothers, and legendarily reclusive producer Matt Dike,
among others, Dan LeR
...more
Paperback, 132 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Continuum
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33⅓
10th out of 113 books — 43 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 968)
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Eric Cartier
"'I never felt like I knew less, and I have never been more confused about what's going on,' Mike D told Village Noize in 1990. He was talking about movies, but it's easy to read more than that into the statement."

Divided into three sections, David LeRoy's Paul's Boutique charts the making of the Beasties' masterpiece, offers an analysis of each of its songs (as well as the b-sides) and notes the album's impact and influence. I spent three nights simulateously listening to and reading about one
...more
Chris
This really isn't all that good, but that doesn't mean I didn't love it. I wore out a green Paul's Boutique cassette (literally) in '89 and replaced it with a tie-dyed one that ended up looking gray. So while there's not much here in the way of criticism or insight, I loved reliving the record (and thereby my junior year of high school--through the "making of" story. Hell it would have been worth my time just to learn that "Sounds of Science" begins with "When I'm 64" cranked down to 1/10th the ...more
Kevin Fanning
Enjoyable for me as a fan of the album.

Incidentally, this is the perfect size, weight, and length for a book. More books should be this size. It's so easy to carry a book around with you wherever you go when the book is this size. I encourage more books to be this size. Maybe if we all carry around books this size, we will be less inclined to bury ourselves in our phones at the doctor's office and in line at the supermarket.

Thank you for reading this social commentary disguised as a book review
...more
Jeff Newberry
A wonderful reading and overview of what is, for me, the Beastie Boys' most important and most experimental album. Fans expected another License to Ill, not an experiment in sampling that references everything from Jack Kerouac to Sadaharu Oh. An album that couldn't be made today (thanks to the price of sampling), Paul's Boutique references pop culture, history, and music in ways that remind me of Modernist poetics. I won't compare the album to T.S. Eliot's The Wasetland, but I think that there' ...more
Phil Overeem
If you love the album (and why shouldn't you?), this is a great afternoon's undertaking, and one of the best in the 33 and 1/3 series. Certainly, you will want to get the record out while you read, because the book uncovers quite a few secrets.
Peter Smith
Paul's Boutique is one of my favorite albums of all time which is interesting because I wasn't a big fan of the Beastie Boys at the time (or hip-hop for that matter) and it took me about 2-3 years after this album was released to actually hear it. I suppose that's not uncommon as the public pretty much dismissed it at first but it eventually became very successful as the public wrapped their brains around this brilliant densely-sampled masterpiece. This book is basically the behind-the-scenes st ...more
Patrick McCoy
Paul's Boutique by Dan LeRoy was another comprehensive look at a seminal album. This one is noteworthy since The Beastie Boys essentially re-invented themselves, record executives probably consider it a flop, a sophomore jinx in relation to the success of their previous album. However, artistically it is a significant achievement-one that couldn't be produced today due to laws regarding sampling. I was unaware of the influence of Matt Dike and the Dust Brothers Mike Simpson and Jon King on the a ...more
Byron
This is the book you hope you're getting when you cop one of these 33 1/3 books (which I'm not saying you definitely should). It manages to shed quite a bit of light on something you feel you should know more about than you do.

Paul's Boutique is regarded as one of the top rap albums in the history of everdom - the Sgt. Pepper's of rap, according to many an older CAC. Or, at one point in time it was. It doesn't seem to be as well regarded as it was when I copped, back in the mid '90s, and I think
...more
Travis
This book made me so happy.

It's divided into three parts. The first is what you might call the business end, as it delves into the events leading up to the making of the album, the band's disputes with Def Jam, their desire to move the hell away from their Licensed To Ill image, their escape to LA, how the team all came together that would make it happen, and finally the actual making-of, followed by critical reactions. It’s packed with quotes from the people who were there, including members of
...more
Graham
A must read for any serious Beastie Boys fan. The book covers the time from the end of the License to Ill tour to the release of Paul’s Boutique. Between these first two albums, the Beastie Boys left Def Jam and went to Capitol Records. They wanted to get away from making a second License to Ill, a decision with which Rick Rubin (their original DJ, producer of License to Ill, and founder of Def Jam) had serious issues. Because of this, and loss of group cohesion during the License to Ill tour, D ...more
James Norton
A brief, thoroughly researched and definitive look at the making of one of the most singular and significant albums in hip hop history. LeRoy captures the Beastie Boys as people - evolving from their bro-friendly hard-partying origins into something far deeper, weirder, and less commercially viable. The alchemy of personalities, grudges, art, drugs, and samples is explored exhaustively, and the book goes a long way to explaining how this jaw-droppingly dense and complicated album came to be.
Blair
This is my new favorite series. If you love music, or even just a song/album and there is a 33 1/3 book on it, do yourself a favor and pick it up. Meticulously researched, it's a fun, inside look into the music that you love.

Paul's Boutique, in particular, shows what talent, paired with booze, drugs, and some fun-loving hip-hoppers can turn into.

A fun book, talking about a fun album. Great way to spend an afternoon.
Tommy_again
There is an America in Mr. Leroy's entry into the 33 1/3 series that feels still innocent, still dangerous in a fun pre-Bush way, still wide open and ready for reinvention. I half wonder if a journey like the one that the Beasties underwent here is even possible today. A must read for fans of the band, but better still, a must read for anyone who wants to sit down and get a glimpse into how awesome it must've been back then. When Mike D and crew head west, it speaks volumes about reinvention, pu ...more
Aaron Talbot
great great great book that gives entertaining insight into the making of "paul's boutique"...completely contextualizes the beastie boys post license to ill, the la club scene of the late 80s, rick rubin, the dust brothers (who went on to produce beck's odelay and guero and the fight club soundtrack), matt dike...superbly informative and fun to read.
Chris
This has been one of my favorite books in the 33 1/3 series so far because Dan LeRoy treats the important Beastie Boys record as an extended magazine-length feature. He interviews most of the principles involved and tells the backstory behind this record - focusing a lot of attention to the story with the Beasties leaving Def Jam Records and the friction with Russell Simmons.

Paul's Boutique was an innovative record and LeRoy was the correct author to document that. The second chapter lags a litt
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Tacey
The Beastie Boys are one of my top three favorite groups, but Paul's Boutique is most likely my favorite album. Looking forward to listening to album with the next read through. Interesting parallel drawn to the Kinks' Village Green album.
Brian
Jul 07, 2014 Brian rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Enjoyable riff on what has become an iconic album in hip hop. Didn't learn much, except maybe that luck played a bigger role than you might think, and that the LA production was even more chaotic and debauched that I'd imagined.
Sam
LeRoy uses a number of different sources to give a thorough backstage look at the Beastie Boys second album. Reading this book also made me realize the similarities between L.A., hip hop, and the 1980s and Greenwich Village, rock, and the 1960s. These two places were creative hotbeds for their respective musical styles. I know that not all the 33 1/3 books take this approach, but this one is worth your time if you are looking for a focused summary of that era and an analysis of the Beastie Boys. ...more
Rob
Strange bit of synchronicity, but I read this book days MCA before died. Paul's Boutique is one of my favorite albums of all time. Most of the stuff I have read on Paul's Boutique only focus on the Beastie Boys. This 33 1/3 book has great balance. It focuses on (1) the Beastie Boys themselves working to move away from there "Licensed to Ill image and go in a more artistic direction, (2) the production crew, birth of the Dust Brothers and the incredible sampling work, (3) the Beastie Boys legal i ...more
Troy
Listened to this as an audiobook and the narrator is frustrating. The book is quite interesting, but the mispronunciation of many key things (song titles and peoples' names) seems like an oversight that could have been easily avoided.
miguel
Not as great as Wolk's 33 1/3 entry on James Brown's Live at the Apollo, but nice, entertaining and breezy reading. For such a mindblowing album, I was hoping for something more ambitious; instead, it's the essay equivalent of a "Behind the Scenes" DVD supplement (albeit a pretty good one). Certainly informative and sporting a couple of interesting side stories, but mostly it's all "Yeah, Beasties were sure crazy back in the day, and boy, isn't sampling so special and ahead of is time?" Etc, etc ...more
Kevin Duvall
LeRoy gives a great analysis of the making and impact of "Paul's Boutique" that clearly comes from huge personal fandom while keeping the focus on the work and not the author.
Daniel
A very informative look at the circumstances around this album. I had no idea it was a dud when released; I came to it after getting turned on to their third album. A solid examination of the band's career and process at the time.
Ruth
I don't love this record but I respect it, and it was interesting to read about the convergence of all the people who made it, even though some of them were kind of jerks.
Andrew Kleimola
Paul's Boutique - the book - succeeds because the author is able to express his love for the album without descending into complete fanboy raving. But the book earns high marks by actually telling the story of the making of the album. Blessed with interviews with key figures, including Mike D., the book is elevated above merely re-introducing old interviews and using rumor and conjecture to draw a picture of what might have happened. I even enjoyed the track-by-track analysis, because LeRoy also ...more
Erin
I feel like an unabridged version of this should be released that's like three times the length of this. I would read the whole thing.
Donald Carr
Serious deep dive into the making of the album, and a definitive account of the brief golden age of sampling.
Tim Trentham
So many samples. I remember the release of this album very well...the summer between high school and college.
Celeste
I always enjoy musician biographies and back stories about the creation of albums, songs etc...
The story of Paul's Boutique was quite complex with an interesting cast of characters. I'm really amazed that Capitol allowed the Beastie Boy's so much artistic freedom! It's been said that an album like this could not be made today given the strict sampling laws. Too expensive.

I was really amazed To learn how much the Dust Brothers accomplished with the available technology at the time. Very challeng
...more
Jeremy
The best part of this book is the story behind the recording of the Beastie Boy's landmark 1989 album. The band went bananas in LA on Capitol Records' dime, taking short breaks to record a classic record along with the Dust Brothers. Thanks to subsequent legal challenges to sampling, records like this will probably never be made again; thanks to recent changes in the record industry, labels probably won't pour millions of dollars into budgets for musicians to squander on sex, drugs, and mayhem i ...more
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“Nostalgia is a longing for home,” Svedana Boym writes, “that no longer exists or has never existed.” In the 20th century, that longing, she adds, quoting historians Jean Starobinski and Michael Roth, had “shrunk to the longing for one’s childhood.” 0 likes
“According to Russell Simmons, producer Eric B once claimed he could have created fifteen albums with the ideas from Paul’s Boutique. Even the late Miles Davis reportedly once said he never tired of the record.” 0 likes
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