It's too late to make David Fricke's top reissues of 2008, but next year's list has an early contender: Beastie Boys will reissue their epic Paul's Boutique on January 27th to celebrate the album's 20th anniversary. The classic LP has been digitally remastered for the first time, with all three Beasties overseeing the 24-bit process. The album's original vinyl artwork will be restored in an eco-friendly, eight-panel digipak displaying a panoramic view of the intersection at Rivington and Ludlow in New York City's Lower East Side. A foldout poster will also be included in the package, plus the reissue gives fans access to a free download of a "track-by-track" album commentary, with Mike D, Ad-Rock and MCA talking about the songs while the track plays in the background, much like Director's Commentaries on DVDs.
Despite a four-star Rolling Stone review, Paul's Boutique was deemed a critical failure upon its release in 1989. But the Beastie Boys' second album (and follow-up to the massively successful License to Ill) has gone on to become a cult classic and is recognized as one of the greatest rap albums of all time. With sample-heavy production courtesy of the Dust Brothers — who would go on to produce Beck's Odelay — the post-modern lyrics on the album would touch on everything from Steve McQueen to The Empire Strikes Back to Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas, and that's just in the song "High Plains Drifter," itself a reference to a Clint Eastwood film.
As for the Beastie Boys in 2009, the trio is reportedly working a new album that is expected out in May. The band last released their instrumental The Mix-Up in 2007.