• Record Label: Capitol
  • Release Date: Jun 15, 2004
Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 25
  2. Negative: 2 out of 25
  1. If there are no classics here, there's no duds, either, and given that the Beasties' pop culture aesthetic once seemed to be the territory of young men, it's rather impressive that they're maturing gracefully, turning into expert craftsmen that can deliver a satisfying listen like this.
  2. Most of Boroughs feels like they're sampling themselves. [Aug 2004, p.120]
  3. Mostly they just sound dated and out of it.
  4. 60
    This formula wears thin over the 15 cuts here. [#27, p.137]
  5. Imagine "Hello Nasty" if it had entirely consisted of "Three MCs And One DJ" and you're close to understanding exactly how "To The 5 Boroughs" sounds.
  6. The beats... are simple and effective, with a welcome lack of distracting bells and whistles that made Hello Nasty feel overstuffed. [18 Jun 2004, p.83]
  7. 88
    Boroughs' greatest strength is its aural cohesiveness, fueled by a litany of Golden Age samples... and the heavy, often dark, bass-driven soundscapes. [#11, p.90]
  8. Part of the fun of the Beastie Boys is knowing that they're fucking with the rhymes and you; another part is knowing that they give a fuck about what's happening in the world. Those two things don't always work well together, though, especially when they say something watered down and deliver it as though they don't buy it either.
  9. Like Missy Elliott, the Beasties are reimagining hip-hop--what it was, what it is, what it can be. [12 Jun 2004, p.47]
  10. Unlike all previous Beastie Boys albums (with the possible exception of Licensed to Ill), To The 5 Boroughs sounds homogenous and singular in purpose-- dark, steel, and dirty like that incomplete Times Square station.
  11. Picking highlights from a release so well executed and downright ass-shaking is difficult.... 'To The 5 Boroughs' is a triumph.
  12. The best album the Beasties have put out since Paul's Boutique.
  13. The Beastie Boys have always been at their best when gleefully rhyming and stealing from a variety of sources--both musically and lyrically--and the self-imposed adherence to hip hop traditionalism here, and indeed musically on the album as a whole, rather subdues their famously free-form sonic palette. [Jul 2004, p.108]
  14. In all honesty, it's not the sentiment that bothers this reviewer. Rather, it's the insertion of the sentiment into what should have ostensibly been a light-hearted romp, a fun return to their days of old.
  15. To the 5 Boroughs is an exciting, astonishing balancing act: fast, funny and sobering.
  16. To the 5 Boroughs is continuously distracted from its titular dedication by political concerns, severely dampening not only its replay factor but also proving to be the least fun album the normally surefire trio has made.
  17. They sound old. They sound past it. They sound, and this is one word that nobody would have ever thought could be used to describe the Beasties, irrelevant.
  18. Boroughs unabashedly travels backward, but like Missy Elliott's similarly retro-minded Under Construction, it's so joyful that it makes regression feel progressive and growth overrated.
  19. The beats bounce along happily enough... but the stripped-down sound focuses attention on the anti-Bush lyrics, and that proves to be the album's undoing.
  20. The tracks crackle and swing with a wit that the lyrics rarely match.
  21. The lyrics on To The 5 Boroughs are, with a few exceptions, a dismal failure.
  22. 80
    The music is strikingly minimal throughout, the emphasis is firmly on The Word and the Beastie Boys have plenty left to say. [Jul 2004, p.108]
  23. 80
    Signals something of a rebirth of their signature creativity. [Jul/Aug 2004, p.123]
  24. The Beasties of 5 Boroughs seem scared--reluctant to innovate; serving up nonsense lyrics and numbing production that are just plain lazy... sensing that there's nowhere to go but down, so better to establish a passable holding pattern than risk an inexcusable backslide toward irrelevance.
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 71 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 50
  2. Negative: 7 out of 50
  1. j30
    Aug 15, 2011
    8
    Average record comparatively to earlier B-Boys' records, but still awesome. I do miss the instrumental work, but this is just pure Hip-hopAverage record comparatively to earlier B-Boys' records, but still awesome. I do miss the instrumental work, but this is just pure Hip-hop record. A love letter of some sort to the city they love, New York City. Full Review »
  2. Aug 10, 2011
    9
    Don't get all the hate for this album tbh , I really like it. I think its pretty clever all round and has some cracking dialogue presentedDon't get all the hate for this album tbh , I really like it. I think its pretty clever all round and has some cracking dialogue presented throughout. classics like: "walk like jabba the hut" , "which one of you shunks took my rhyme book" lol

    I think it flows really well aswell, more so then any other BB album I own. I think regardless of the wait for this it is a great modern album and one that has the BB written all over it.
    Full Review »
  3. RG.
    Oct 26, 2007
    3
    Very disappointing. Cannot understand why the B-boys have decided to separate their hip-hop personae from their instrumental side - that Very disappointing. Cannot understand why the B-boys have decided to separate their hip-hop personae from their instrumental side - that combination is what made them so interesting, fresh and innovative over the past decade and a half (longer, really), and it's absence is exactly what's made the last 2 CD's so boring. Full Review »