The Streets
A Grand Don't Come For Free



by GurS USER (7 Reviews)
January 16th, 2005 | 61 replies

Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Firstly, I'd just like to say that I am not a fan of garage, or most rap, but I have fallen in love with this album.

Mike Skinner, aka The Streets, is an mc-cum-rapper from working class britain, whose debut album, Original Pirate Material, was reflective of his basic working-class roots - drink, drugs etc. OPM was an incredible album, and people weren't sure if Skinner could top it, and how, - but he has, in the form of a concept album. The basic story revolves around Mike, Simone (a bird), Dan (mike's best mate), and Scott (another mate).

It was supposed to be so easy:
The album starts off with a blast of horns, before drums and vocals come in. This song didn't really appeal to me in the begining, but has grown on me a lot. The song starts off the story in the cd. Mike one day wakes up with a simple agenda: to return a DVD, withdraw money from his account, phone his mum to tell him that he won't be able to come round, and pay a bill - but it all goes wrong: he goes to the video shop with the box, only to find out that he has left the disc at home; waits in a queue at the hole-in-the-wall for ages, and when he gets to the hole-in-the-wall, finds out he has no money; his phone's battery is flat, so he can't phone his mum; and loses a shoebox with a grand in it, which he was going to use to pay his bills, and thinks one of his mates may have nicked it. He also complains about his broken tv. A decent start to the album: 7/10

Could well be in:
Piano and string-based song, this is a brilliant track. It's about a bird who mike meets in a pub, called Simone, and he reckons that, well, reckons that he "could well be in" as the title suggests. one of the high lights of the album. 9/10

Not Addicted:
Seeing as Mike lost the grand for the bill in track 1, Mike turns to gambling to try and make money. While denying his gambling addiction throught the whole song, he tries to bet on a football match, despite not understanding the game, but doesn't get to the shop in time. It turns out, that would he have bet, he would have lost the rest of his money, so it turns out lucky for him in the end. The song ends with Mike going to bet on cricket. The song itself has a catchy chorus, and a pumping bass line that carries the song well. Another good song. 7/10

Blinded by the lights:
The best song on the album IMHO. This song is about waiting in a club for Simone and his best mate Dan. To pass the time, he takes some Ecstasy. A driving trance beat is played throughout, with sweeping string whose timbre gets thicker and more 'drowsy' as the drugs take affect. Very good use of a female singer in the chorus, and this slow, trance song is quite possibly the best song of 2004. In the story, he thinks he sees Dan and Simone pulling, but is not quite sure because of the Ecstasy. 10/10

Wouldn't have it any other way:
This is Mike's tribute to living with your girlfriend, saying that he would rather lie on his girl's couch watching tv and getting stoned than going out with his mates. This song is quite a happy song, and is quite upbeat. An unusually happy song, with bells and strings providing the background music. A pretty sweet chorus too. 8/10

Get out of my house:
This section of the story sees a fight between Simone and Mike. The fight is about Mike going out on a saturday, leaving Simone by herself. The part of Simone is sung/rapped by C-Mone, who I haven't heard of otherwise. The music is quite slow, with a bass line that drops out during the chorus, and synths and strings provide backing aswell. There are also occaisions where the backing changes completely into typical garage-esque backings. Not a bad song, but not the best, and only necessary to progress the story really (btw, mike leaves the house at the end). 7/10

Fit but you know it:
The first single from this album, very upbeat, and a funny song aswell. Reminicent somewhat of 3 lions by badiel/skinner/lightning seeds. A great song, and one of the undoubtable high points of the album. The song's about mike flirting with a girl while on holiday. 10/10

Such a twat:
Another strings/synth/bass backing. Another somewhat typical garagy song, but a pretty ok one. This is Mike phoning a mate (probably Scott) about mike's regretts about flirting with the girl from "fit but you know it". As you can maybe guess from the title, Mike thinks he a twat for flirting with the girl. The chorus goes: "why did I have to go and do such a stupid thing like that? Coz yeh, it felt like we where through though, but I could have ruined it, I'm such a twat". 7/10

What is he thinking?:
Similar somewhat to "such a twat". Mike goes to Simone's house to find a strange jacket there. He asks Scott about it, but Scott doesn't tell Mike the truth - it belongs to Dan, who's been banging Simone behind Mike's back. As I said, it's similar to the previous song, but is better. In the end, Scott tells Mike the truth. 7.5/10

Dry your eyes:
The second single from this album, this is a slow ballad-style song, with sweeping violins and an acoustic guitar providing a background for Mike to spill his heart. Mike begs Simone to not break up with him, but in the end, Mike lets go. A really good song, one of the best of this year. 10/10

Empty cans:
This stars of with a despondent, upset Mike. Having broken up with Simone, he finally decides to get his TV fixed. He gets a text from Scott, asking if he wants the TV fixed, but Mike tells him to **** off and gets a professinal to do it. The professinal says that there is something in the back of the tv, but mike thinks it's just a ploy to jack up the price. a fight ensues, in which Mike gets the **** kicked out of him. After some scratching, the song restarts, but this time, Mike invites Scott over to fix the TV, and scott says that there is something in the back of the TV. they remove the back, and they find the missing grand from the beginning. The first half of the song is ok, but the seconde half is really good. The first half is in a minor key, with a bitter chorus, but the second half is the exact opposite. A great end. 8.5/10

I advise all of you to at least listen to this album. It's a great album, and while you might not like garage or rap, it will grow on you and won't let go, just like an STI. Unlike an STI, however, it's enjoyable and you will want to tell everyone that you have it. So go get it already! 9/10

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Comments:Add a Comment 
August 18th 2004


Pretty nice review. I'd give it a 10/10 because it's a fantastic original rap album.

el doctor
August 18th 2004


Definitely a great album. I'm not the biggest fan of rap though so it's tough sometimes to go beyond just listening to Fit But You Know It. :p

August 19th 2004


Fantastic album. My favourite track is "Empty Cans". I'd give the album a 10 as well.

August 19th 2004


I really liked "Original Pirate Material". So I really want this CD. I like the idea of a rap concept album, I've only heard of one other.

Good review too!

August 20th 2004




for stand out tracks you may want to check out, I suggest:

Could Well Be In
Blinded By The Lights
Fit But You Know It
Dry Your Eyes
Empty Cans

August 20th 2004


Album Rating: 3.5

I liked this album more than Original Pirate MAterial and I liked that album alot. Fav song are could well be in and what is he thinking?

August 20th 2004


I prefered OPM to this album. The songs on OPM were better in my opinion. This however is still a good album and some of the best hip-hop out there. Suggestion, bold the song titles in your review to make the layout easier to read.

August 21st 2004


This can be the first hip hop album that I will listen in an addictive way. I haven'T bought the album yet, but I've liked the singles very much. I've been sinign all day "Dry your eyes man:.." On my "have to check- out" list.

September 10th 2004


OK I finally checked this album out... I don't like it as much as Original Pirate Material.

It's great lyrically, but musically it's pretty boring. I dunno, it might grow on me.

September 10th 2004


I was just going to say about that video! Its not a technically great video but suits the song so well. Favourite part is when him and his mate are in the toilets doing the drugs and Simone is cheating on him in the next cubicle.

You're right about the times the channels show it, I only saw it after some oasis programme that ended at midnight.

September 10th 2004


I can't stand the Streets. I've only heard Dry Your Eyes though. But that was a very well-written review. :thumb:

September 10th 2004



didn't expect to see this review on the front page again. need to go see the video for blinded by the lights now

September 10th 2004


just saw the video for blinded by the lights on the streets website. good video, but i kinda pictured it in a basement club/rave type thing rather than where it was.... best song on the album though

September 11th 2004


this an an album is the absolute tits, but there is less indivisual top tracks here than OSM.

Cheers for the review :D

October 4th 2004


I never thought I would get to hear this band, but I keep forgetting that MTV2 comes on at arbitrary times and stations where I'm at, so their "Subterranean" program shows two Streets videos: Dry Your Eyes and Fit But You Know It. The first song was kind of boring and featured talking instead of actual "rapping." But the next song was a lot of fun to listen to and very bouncy. I guess this is a pretty good band/guy.

Scott Herren
October 4th 2004


^^Dizzee Rascal > The Streets.

Scott Herren
October 4th 2004


I hope that extra Mike Skinner track doesn't mean no Ghostface Killah :angry:

edit: It didn't

October 4th 2004


Funny, MTV2's "Subterranean" features videos by both Rascal and Ghostface (he dropped the "Killah"). Go check it out in that thread of yours I bumped, Scott.

Scott Herren
October 4th 2004


Yes, I know, that's why I mentioned it. I was watching at the exact time you posted

October 4th 2004


Does that mean you're watching Beavis and Butthead now?

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