My review for the Beastie Boys’ 20th anniversary reissue of Paul’s Botique is up at PopMatters. I found a return to the album to be a pleasant surprise as I had mostly written off the Beastie Boys prior to this release. However, the reissue itself is sort of wasted as it doesn’t really offer anything of any worth outside of a quality remastering. Money quote:
There are two noticeable differences on this 20th anniversary reissue: the separation of the “B-Boy Bouillabaisse” medley into its separate parts and the sonic pampering that miraculously makes the record sound less—if at all—dated. As someone who’s been known to decry the praise heaped upon reissues for their sonic advancements, the benefits that Paul’s Boutique yields through its remixing is palpable. Rarely will you come across a record that has been as obviously sharpened and improved on a reissue. The sonic inadequacies and lo-fi recording that a younger me had always found so jarring have been almost completely removed.
The other obvious change was the separation of the aforementioned “B-Boy Bouillabaisse” medley. While a nice gesture, it doesn’t really do too much for the listener. Sure, you can skip ahead to the freakishly bass-heavy-“‘A Milli’ be shamed” cut “Hello Brooklyn”, but that’s little reason to invest in a reissue. Pavement got it right with their spattering of re-releases by not tampering too much with the original while offering a mass of unreleased/previously unaccompanied material. Paul’s Boutique, however, feels lacking.