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The Late Movies: "Paul's Boutique" Turns 23

The Beastie Boys released their opus Paul's Boutique today, July 25, way back in 1989. (To some of us that doesn't seem so long ago.) It was their second record, and the band faced tremendous pressure to meet or exceed Licensed to Ill, known for anthemic party-rock/hip-hop hits like "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)" and "No Sleep till Brooklyn." The Dust Brothers produced Paul's Boutique and in many cases actually wrote the music and arranged the samples. Although at first the album wasn't the smash hit Capitol Records was looking for, it was a critical success and eventually (in 1999) went double platinum. It often appears on critics' "best albums" lists. Tonight, a few choice cuts from the record.

"Shadrach" Live on Soul Train

"It's not how you play the game, it's how you win it" -The Beastie Boys rapping on, no kidding, Soul Train. They repeatedly name-check the late Don Cornelius, who proceeds to interview them onstage. Also notable: MCA's beard.

"Hey Ladies"

With a layered Seventies funk groove, this song samples James Brown, Kool & the Gang, the Commodores, Cameo, P-Funk All Stars, Kurtis Blow, and many more.

"Shake Your Rump"

The video featured the three rappers performing in front of three cameras on a roof. Most fun is the dance break around 2:00 in which you can see the crew in the background. At the very end, you see The Dust Brothers (E.Z. Mike is one).

"Johnny Ryall" (Demo)

Playing on limited-edition blue vinyl, on a rainbow turntable. The song samples Pink Floyd, Donny Hathaway, Kurtis Blow, and the Beastie Boys' previous work among many others. The song refers to a homeless man. Interesting how many of the song's name-checks are still relevant -- Ed Koch and Donald Trump are both mentioned.

"High Plains Drifter" Live in Tokyo

From a concert in 1995.

"The Sounds of Science" Live in Japan

"Droppin' science like? Galileo dropped the orange," live in Japan.

"Egg Man" Live in Germany

"Come Halloween you know I come strapped!" A song about egging.

Paul's Boutique Release Party

Yeah, just 48 minutes of hanging out on the Capitol Records roof celebrating the record's release. Spoiler/surprise alert: there is awesome skywriting in this video. Also amusing is the extended interview -- towards the end, the guys lament the consumer trend towards CDs and away from vinyl; MCA suggests that vinyl is superior in part because "it's bigger."

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This Just In
Police Recover Nearly 100 Artifacts Stolen From John Lennon’s Estate
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Keystone Features / Stringer / Getty Images

A collection of artifacts stolen from John Lennon’s estate, including diaries, glasses, and handwritten music, has been recovered by German police, the Associated Press reports. After arresting the first suspect, law enforcement is now working to apprehend a second person of interest in the case.

The nearly 100 items went missing from the New York home of the late Beatles star’s widow Yoko Ono in 2006. Years later, German police were tipped off to their whereabouts when a bankruptcy administrator came across the haul in the storage facility of a Berlin auction house. The three leather-bound diaries that were recovered are dated 1975, 1979, and 1980. One entry refers to Lennon’s famous nude photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz, and another was written the morning of December 8, 1980, hours before he was shot and killed. In addition to the journals, police retrieved two pairs of his iconic glasses, a 1965 recording of a Beatles concert, a 1952 school book, contract documents for the copyright of the song “I’m the Greatest”, handwritten scores for "Woman" and "Just Like Starting Over”, and a cigarette case.

German authorities flew to New York to have Ono verify the items' authenticity. "She was very emotional and we noticed clearly how much these things mean to her,” prosecutor Susann Wettley told AP. When the objects will be returned to Ono is still unclear.

The first suspect, a 58-year-old German businessman from Turkey, was arrested Monday, November 21, following a raid of his house and vehicles. The second suspect is one of Ono's former chauffeurs who has a past conviction related to the theft. Police officers are hoping to extradite him from his current home in Turkey before moving forward with the case.

[h/t AP]

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Scientists Analyze the Moods of 90,000 Songs Based on Music and Lyrics
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iStock

Based on the first few seconds of a song, the part before the vocalist starts singing, you can judge whether the lyrics are more likely to detail a night of partying or a devastating breakup. The fact that musical structures can evoke certain emotions just as strongly as words can isn't a secret. But scientists now have a better idea of which language gets paired with which chords, according to their paper published in Royal Society Open Science.

For their study, researchers from Indiana University downloaded 90,000 songs from Ultimate Guitar, a site that allows users to upload the lyrics and chords from popular songs for musicians to reference. Next, they pulled data from labMT, which crowd-sources the emotional valence (positive and negative connotations) of words. They referred to the music recognition site Gracenote to determine where and when each song was produced.

Their new method for analyzing the relationship between music and lyrics confirmed long-held knowledge: that minor chords are associated with sad feelings and major chords with happy ones. Words with a negative valence, like "pain," "die," and "lost," are all more likely to fall on the minor side of the spectrum.

But outside of major chords, the researchers found that high-valence words tend to show up in a surprising place: seventh chords. These chords contain four notes at a time and can be played in both the major and minor keys. The lyrics associated with these chords are positive all around, but their mood varies slightly depending on the type of seventh. Dominant seventh chords, for example, are often paired with terms of endearment, like "baby", or "sweet." With minor seventh chords, the words "life" and "god" are overrepresented.

Using their data, the researchers also looked at how lyric and chord valence differs between genres, regions, and eras. Sixties rock ranks highest in terms of positivity while punk and metal occupy the bottom slots. As for geography, Scandinavia (think Norwegian death metal) produces the dreariest music while songs from Asia (like K-Pop) are the happiest. So if you're looking for a song to boost your mood, we suggest digging up some Asian rock music from the 1960s, and make sure it's heavy on the seventh chords.

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