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Paul's Boutique

(33⅓ #30)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,004 ratings  ·  105 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 Di
Paperback, 132 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Continuum
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  1,004 ratings  ·  105 reviews

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Kevin Fanning
Oct 22, 2008 rated it liked it
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
May 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 m
Andrew Kleimola
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Phil Overeem
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. My first foray into this series and I loved it. The first 1/3 is maybe a little rough trying to get a handle on the scene and the names of everybody, but that is the nature of the beast and no way around it. I learned so much about an album that was one so influential to my adolescence. After finishing I devoured books on Pet Sounds and Let It Be from the same series.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Delightful and quick read about this landmark Beasties album. So fun and bizarre to read about the circumstances of its creation. Even wilder than I imagined.
Eric Cartier
Apr 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
"'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 o
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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,
Jun 29, 2008 rated it liked it
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 speed. W ...more
Norb Aikin
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my Top 3 albums of all time, and an album that will never be recreated or duplicated...a touchstone of my youth. This is an in-depth look at a legendary record, full of stories and anecdotes and information...can't wait to sink into the 66-2/3 follow-up, which is waiting for me. Even if you have a passing interest in the Beastie Boys, it's still a stellar read. The behind-the-scenes looks at how it was made and the people involved just fills in every gap in your synapses. Lotta fun, lotta ...more
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another fantastic 33 1/3 record investigation installment.

I learned plent of fun details about the making of the album, got to tie together some loose ends of trivia about the Beastie Boys I had always wondered about.

All around good time read, glad to see the album get this sort of treatment; I dismissed it when it came out and came back around to it after Check your Head came out...they were clearly ahead of their time when it came out.

David Collins
Jul 06, 2019 rated it liked it
This was quite enjoyable, if not a literary treasure. I had forgotten just what an ingenious trio of twerps the Beasties had been in the '80s and had kind of lost interest in them during the Paul's Boutique period.

Big ups to my brother-in-law for introducing me to the 33-1/3 series, which includes hundreds of titles about landmark recordings in various flavors of rock, pop, R&B, hip-hop, etc. I'll be seeking out more of them.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is another one of the short books in the 33 1/3 series of titles on specific albums. I’ve been drawn to these because of a fondness of the album. Having already devoured the band’s recent biography there’s not that much I’ve not already read or heard here before but it’s still an good bit of music scholarship, mixing textual analysis with historical anecdotes
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The 33 1/3 series is inconsistent af, but this one is pretty great as a potted history of the making of a record. It's sent me back to listen again, which is what these books should always do. It seems like only one Beastie was interviewed, Mike D, but for what's basically a long magazine article it's enough.
James Almond
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent addition to the series...a great insight into life after Licensed to Ill.
Adrian Bloxham
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book about the B-Boys?? Um yeah- that's a 5 fa sho!!
Benjamin Van Buren
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A thorough look at one of my absolute favorite — and easily most listened to — albums ever. Purchased in Vegas over a decade ago and finally read this thing in its entirety.
Enda O' Gara
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Well written and insightful, lots of intimate detail and background into the making of one of hip-hops early masterpieces. .
Grayson Wasteland
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very well researched with lots of history and stories.
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book about one of my favorite albums and especially all the samples that were used in its creation.
Patrick McCoy
Sep 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
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
Peter Smith
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jeff Newberry
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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's a kinship between th ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 05, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: documetsrty
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 t
Aug 11, 2008 rated it liked it
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
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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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