Artist: Beastie Boys
Title: “To the 5 Boroughs”
The cover for the Beastie Boys’ “To the 5 Boroughs” might as well be the band in an “I Heart NY” shirt, a love letter from Mike D, Ad Rock and the late Adam “MCA” Yauch, who died one year ago Saturday.
At the same time, the Beasties reached back to their roots, keeping things fairly old school. The three of them throw their funny, catchy rhymes with fairly simple beats and turntable effects. The songs are short and tight, too.
MCA is easy to pick out from his hoarse verse, a voice that started low and turned into a hip-hop cousin to Tom Waits as he aged.
Aside from “Ch-Check it Out,” “5 Boroughs” suffers from not having any choice cuts of legendary feat. But if this is the weakest effort the Beastie Boys have to offer and MCA’s death means the end of the group – who knows how far along “Hot Sauce Committee Part One” is – they leave a legacy that is fun, fresh and had few misfires.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. This version was updated to note the anniversary of Yauch’s May 4, 2012, death. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.