The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free - Album Review

The Streets
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The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free - Album Review

The Streets
A Grand Don't Come for Free
Release Date: May 10th 2004

It seems a lifetime ago since Mike Skinner, A.K.A. The Streets turned around the face of British Garage/Hip Hop music, but two years on from debut album "Original Pirate Material" and they are back with the long awaited new album "A Grand Don't Come for Free."

More analogies and stories of British suburban culture, The Streets bring their ironic humour, and experience of British culture, together

The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free - Album Review

with a clever use of words, which the listener can identify with, and a wide variety of backing music to match the scenario the way film soundtracks are chosen to fit the scene.

"It Was Supposed to Be So Easy" starts the ball rolling, opening with a fanfare as though at the start of the Olympics opening ceremony, with Mike telling a story of losing a grand, and the cash machine denying his requests for money, to top it all off, he doesn't manage to get a DVD back on time, costing him more, the listener can identify with these experiences, and The Streets manage to make it interesting.

The Streets mix in hints of British Dance, Hip Hop, Garage and even a taste of old style punk for good measure, in "Fit But You Know It" which tells the tale of meeting a girl on a night out, scoring her out of ten, and being knocked back, Mike integrates humour into the situation by being more bothered about losing his place in the queue at the burger bar.

There are no epic tunes, in fact the entire album is 11 tracks long and only makes an hour in total, but the album tells it like it is, with clever use of words, rhyme, and familiarity of modern life. What the listener may see as every day mundane activity, The Streets manage to turn into clever ideas, using ironic wit, rhyme and personal experience to do so, the album gives a feel of being down the pub with your mates, or listening to lyrical entertainment at a comedy night, rather than listening to a CD at home.

Where rappers tend to brag about their wall to wall stacks of money, their new Versace tie, or their millions of women queuing up to dance with them, Mike Skinner keeps to reality, addressing the issues of a British suburban existence, from sitting on the sofa watching Eastenders, to losing the girl you love, everything is hit by the sharp wit of The Streets. "Dry Your Eyes" is probably the most emotional; taking the form of a hip hop ballad, where Mike loses the one thing he loved. It's not all woeful though, as closer "Empty Cans" tells a story of friendship problems, and broken televisions from the point of view of Mike and his mate Scott, where Mike winds up finding his lost grand. From those who have experienced having to stand in a certain spot to gain a signal on your mobile, to those experiencing deeper problems, this long awaited CD has something to offer, to gain the full story, give this latest offering a whirl.

Katherine Tomlinson 3.5/5

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