Editor’s note: In this recurring column, music writer Chris Duncan suggests two albums to listen to this week. Have a suggestion? Send a tweet to @chr_dunc, and your pick might appear in next week’s Two Albums To Listen To.
Paul’s Boutique – Beastie Boys
After the release of their ground-breaking first album, Licensed to Ill, few fans believed the group could match the gusto shown with their debut release. Those feeling were amplified even further when the trio left Def Jam Recordings for Capital Records in a messy affair, but their follow-up effort, Paul's Boutique, exceeded expectations.
Paul’s Boutique is a dense love letter to New York City, forgoing the hard rock aspects of the group’s sound on Licensed to Ill and, instead, opting for sample-based alternative hip-hop. Weaving their beats, loops and ticks together, the group romanticizes a scenario where each song feeds off of the others, culminating in a chilling experience.
Few rap records can match the combination of lyricism and production that Paul’s Boutique puts forth. The album’s impact shows distinct shift in modern rap and pop music, allowing the album to stand as not just a fun listen but also visionary to the future of music.
Tracks to listen to: “Shake Your Rump,” “Hey Ladies,” “Shadrach”
The Second Annual Report – Throbbing Gristle
Formed as a performance art group in 1976, Throbbing Gristle lacks the mainstream exposure that other industrial pioneers, including The Velvet Underground and John Cage, benefit from. The group gained their reputation for their live performances, which used disturbing imagery and an in-your-face attitude to make a mark, eventually leading to the release of their first album, The Second Annual Report.
Considered to be highly influential to the birth of the industrial genre, Throbbing Gristle’s debut LP brought forth experimentation with sampling both vocals and percussion to create relentless and grinding music that distorts genre norms. Each song is harsh and abrasive, fusing rock and electronic to create a heavy avant-garde sound.
There’s an extremely small demographic for fans of music of this style, but for those that do fit into this category, these 10-plus minute epics will present a haunting atmosphere for an entrancing listen.
Tracks to listen to: “Maggot Death,” “Maggot Death,” “Maggot Death”