After a six-year hiatus, the Beastie Boys return with To the 5 Boroughs and alternately position themselves as pop-culture bottom feeders and political pedants. While anti-Bush screeds "That's It That's All" and "Time to Build" come across as heavy-handed, the terse "Open Letter to NYC" does manage to channel that city's post-September 11 resolve without sounding like a Bruce Springsteen song. When the Beasties aren't didactic, they're tapping nostalgia: The album's production has a bottom-heavy electro sheen that recalls early-'80s hip-hop; irreverent party-rocking jams such as "All Lifestyles," "Three the Hard Way" and "Ch-Check It Out" namedrop throwback icons Fred Sanford, Jabba the Hut and Mr. Furley. It's obviously nothing new for the Boys, and much of the album does reek of self-cannibalization, but Boroughs is comfort food for the die-hard fans--and at this point, that's all we can expect or even want.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Dallas, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.