To The 5 Boroughs

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
To The 5 Boroughs Music Poster Image
Exuberant social commentary and party fun.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

An apology for former anti-gay stance is thrown in.


A strong anti-violence message.


Nothing explicit; some humorous innuendo.


A few songs exuberantly celebrate the "f" word.


Nothing to worry about.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

An anti-drug message, if anything.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

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Kid, 10 years old December 3, 2011

awesome for da fans

this is not a good rating should be on for 11
Kid, 11 years old December 15, 2009
Beastie Boys are probably one of my favorite bands, and this solidifies it!

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the messages found in some of the songs. What are these artists taking a stance on? Does it sway you?

Music details

  • Artist: Beastie Boys
  • Release date: June 15, 2004
  • Label: Capitol
  • Genre: Rap
  • Parental advisory: Yes
  • Edited version available: Yes
  • Last updated: July 15, 2015

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