Review Summary: Mike Skinner's in love...
Love. What a magical feeling! The beauty of being able to call someone pookie, poobear, snuggle bunny, sweet thang, lovebug, sweetiepie, honey bunny, gumdrop, yummy-tushy-gal, or for me, rosebud, and truly mean it. Are you in love? No? Then go listen to Jane Doe
you emo cry-baby bitch. Oh, you are in love, ah good. Well, leave it to The Streets to create a feel-good, lovey dovey album that actually works. Everything is Borrowed
is not only a return to form after the mediocre The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living
but a fun record that shows a rapper with hints of glorious old, but, at the same time, a quite different all-around experience.
The first thing noted on this album is the band. The Streets was always criticized for his (Mike Skinner) sometimes uniteresting sonic experience. The lyrics were always top-notch, but sometimes that was it. Well, The Streets has gone all Atmosphere (or whichever rapper was first to use a full band), and the results are astounding. Samples and bumpin beats have given way to actual instruments. Guitar, bass, drums, violin, harps, and piano round off a very new sound. The piano play in "I Love You More (Than You Like Me)," especially in the bridge, is splendid and oddly uplifting. The all-around, funk assault that is "Sherry End," not to mention the chill-enducing (isn't this a hip-hop album?) chorus brings the listener back. The unadulterated wackiness (i believe that's the sound effect when you get a coin in Sonic the Hedgehog, before you ask) of "Heaven For the Weather." The new instrumental attack makes this album feel complete, something past albums from The Streets were lacking.
The success of Everything is Borrowed
, however, results from the man himself, Mike Skinner, and his evolution also lends to the album's "fullness" as compared to past works. Mentions of geezers and "Oys" are nowhere to be found. He's taken his own prior advice and is now stay(ing) positive. The title track manages to do it all. That larger-than-life backdrop gives way to Skinner's new approach, much more philisophical than ever before. "Just when I discover the meaning of life they change it, Just when I'm loving life it seems to start raining...I love the rain on my scars." Then the chorus, "I came to this world with nothing, and I leave with nothing but love, Everything else is just borrowed." "Heaven for the Weather" is a discussion of the appeal of hell, and the most sing-along-able track. "The Way of the Dodo" is almost joyous in its attack of global warming fearers (the word dodo was invented for Mike Skinner to say). The common thread throughout is love. Any time Skinner seems to be getting down, it inevitably goes back to love. Such as the, this is so cutesy but I just can't hate it because his heart's clearly behind it "The Strongest Person I Know." Finally, "The Escapist" closes the positivity circle. Really rounding off the album, it's a tale of trials overcome and an epic along the lines of "Stay Positive" and "Empty Cans."
Hey wait, I don't want cutesy rap, I want beats and introspective tails of turmoil; well there's that too (at least the latter). Atheism, ecology, despair, suicide, inequality; it's all here. The thing is, it's still done in an uplifting way. "Alleged Legends" is a pro-atheist track that would make McP think. Even its chorus, which feels like something a 4-yr-old could have wrtten, serves the song and brings a power to it (O and he calls God a bloak, plus five style points). "On the Edge of a Cliff" discusses exactly what one would think, a man in despair ready to jump. Why doesn't he? A discussion of the randomness of life makes him stop (listen and find yourself thinking about it a week later). "I Love You More (Than You Like Me)" brings the mood the title suggests, liking that lady more than she does you, and knowing it. It is, however, turned on its side by "Never Give In" which speaks of not giving in until he's laying with that girl. "Ahhhh"...a sound of frustration any future-Romeo will understand. So there is those things any good music fan needs, but for the first time for Mike, the negatives of life are outweighed by the positives.
Everything is Borrowed
is the Resurrection. As THWtMaEL (last album) was to The Streets losing everything unique, this album is the return to the glory of old without stopping there. The Streets is now a full force. The backing band creates a unique, full sound not before heard on a Streets record. The man himself has left behind his "call it as I see it" lyricism and has evolved into philosophy. Honestly, it is a mood album. Not for rainy days or post-break-up self-medication. Rather, it is one to throw on when times are good. One in which Skinner mulls over more universal concepts but has not lost his wit or his ability to invoke emotion. Mike Skinner's intention, as he stated when making the album, was to make an album of parables: ones in which he refused to mention modern life. Funny that in that attempt, he made his most optimistic and mature release, backed by an unending emotion: love. I love you Rosebud!
I drew a drawing of you after last time i saw you
I never felt to draw a picture like that before
I learn a lot about myself drawing all morning
It was absolutely shi
t, I'm awful at drawing