The band that once only wanted to "fight for the right to party" now has much more serious things on their minds. Though there are a couple of jukebox jams (one, of course, being the omnipresent single "Ch-Check it Out") on the Beastie Boys’ first album in nearly seven years, To The 5 Boroughs, Mike D, Ad Rock and MCA are on a mission.

Actually, make that two missions. The first is rather sedentary: as the album title suggests, this album is a love letter to Manhattan. But the second mission might find Beastie fans taking sides. Throughout the album, political barbs and rhymes abound, making the Beastie Boys arguably the highest-profile act to make a direct political statement since the break up of Rage Against the Machine.

It’s not surprising that the Beasties want to talk politics (they are, after all, the group that instigated the Tibetan Freedom Concert), but an album this blatantly leftist might, unfortunately, have them splitting ends with fans who just want to get down. For those of us MoveOn members who can’t wait for a regime change, though, this may be as close to a rally cry as we’ll see all year.

Grade: B+