As any article on the subject will tell you, the fascination with reality TV stars these days comes from the fact that people want celebrities they can identify with. Mike Skinner may never have frequented the Big Brother house but his appeal as The Streets is certainly linked into that ideal. He has an incredible skill for writing about nothing but day-to-day life with sharp observation of experiences and thought processes everyone can identify with at some point.
He has a style that makes use of the faults in his skills both as a musician and a rapper, turning them to his advantage. Skinner also chose to once again record almost everything at home with contributions made by friends who came back after an evening in the pub, keeping up the DIY nature of his music.
It’s this that makes the idea of a concept album from this man so interesting. In the past this was normally the staple of the prog rock band, full of talk about goblins and wizards. After punk came along and put a stop to all that rubbish at the end of the seventies this is the obvious way to bring it back. This is definitely a post-punk concept album with a concept so weak it almost doesn’t exist – Mike loses a grand, gets girl, loses girl, goes on holiday, has argument with mate and… well, I won’t spoil the ending.
And does it work? Yes. Against your better judgement, the story that runs through A Grand Don’t Come For Free will have you laughing, crying, rooting for Mike and on the edge of your seat, like when you accidentally find yourself watching soaps in the daytime. And no matter what you think of The Streets, there is no denying that there is absolutely nothing like it out there. This album will secure Mike Skinner’s place in the history of pop culture.
Read more from Indigo Flow
Label: 679 Recordings
Release date: 10th May 2004
- It Was Supposed To Be So Easy
- Could Be Well In
- Not Addicted
- Blinded By The Lights
- Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way
- Get Out Of My House
- Fit But You Know It
- Such A Twat
- What Is He Thinking?
- Dry Your Eyes
- Empty Cans
Buy The Streets CDs from Amazon