A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that one delivers the "f" word with more joyful exuberance than the Beastie Boys. There's a liberal sprinkling of this expletive (edited out on the clean version) on a couple of tracks, but other than that, this album packs a refreshing wallop with anti-drug and anti-violence messages -- as well as an apology, of sorts, for the group's earlier anti-gay stance.
What's the story?
The Beastie Boys, legendary rappers who happen to be Jewish, write songs with lyrics that contain words like \"terse,\" \"concise,\" and \"matzoh.\" They will not disappoint their hardcore fans with the long-awaited TO THE 5 BUROUGHS, their first album in six years. It's a quirky love letter to New York, and the fact that the Beasties co-wrote and produced all of the tracks makes for up-tempo, musically minimalist consistency.
Is it any good?
Energetic and clever from beginning to end, To the 5 Buroughs is party fun with a socially conscious twist: many of the lyrics are anti-violence, anti-gun, and anti-drug. ("Columbine bowling/Childhood stolen/We need a bit more gun-controlling" or "Don't mess with crack or the baking soda.") There's even an attempt to revise the group's former anti-gay stance -- band member Adam Yauch recently made a public apology as well -- in "All Life Styles" ("All you spazzes and you freaks/Go and do your thing cause you're unique/If it don't hurt nobody else/Then don't be afraid to be yourself/And special dedication and so on, to all lifestyles, sizes, shapes, and forms/We got to keep the party going on...")
There's a bit of humorous sexual innuendo (a boast about a "10-inch sausage," for example) and no one delivers the "f" word with more joyful exuberance than the Beastie Boys. References to pop culture -- TV sit-coms and TV dinners -- feel more like kitsch than commercialism.