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
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
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