Monday, February 07, 2011


Song: OMG
Artist: The Streets
Album: Computers and Blues

It was way back in March of last year that a reported leak of The Streets fifth and reported final album "Computers and Blues" hit the web and upon a couple listens, it seemed that save for a track here and there, Mike Skinner, who is The Streets, had lost the plot and like the last Streets record, 2009's "Everything is Borrowed" had boiled a unique sound he created down to indifference.  But that was just a leak, the actual album comes out this week, and is possibly the best he's done since his killer sophomore album, "A Grand Don't Come For Free."

While I don't quite understand Skinner's reasoning for dissolving the name "The Streets," something about being "fucking sick" of the name and the connotations it came with.  Since I'm not immersed in the London grime/pop scene I don't know what he's talking about... but after the disappointment of "Everything is Borrowed," maybe he just needed to regroup.  Which he has.

Not since that aformentioned heights of "A Grand Don't Come for Free" has Skinner's work sounded so vital and assured.  The more I listen to "Computers and Blues" I'm starting to think it's going to be considered either a fitting ending on a high note or even a "why did he stop now?!?!" missed opportunity  at great music in the future.  Regardless... listen to this new Streets album NOW.

It must be frustrating to feel like all future work is being measured up to a past glory but the truth is, "A Grand Don't Come For Free" was the perfect culmination of what The Streets could and should be.  Skinner is best at spitting story/songs about lower middle class working lives (and loves) so a concept album about searching for a lost thousand quid while dealing with blokes and birds on top of some serious catchy tunes and top notch humor worked.  The follow up was pretty good, but Skinner had become a superstar, so while the humor and beats were solid, something felt a miss from the king of blue collar suddenly coming into a lot of cash.  Despite that, "When You Wasn't Famous" was still pretty hysterical.

On "Blues," Skinner has figured it all out and gotten back to what he does best.  First single "Going Through Hell" isn't the banger that we've come to expect from the man in first single mode, it's more like a monster truck of a song with a big dark guitar riff and a call to arms to take control of your life despite the difficulty.  Things get practically sunny on "Roof of Your Car," an upbeat tune that ponders the growing technology of our world with a simple view of the stars.  The album is filled with Skinners ruminations on life, matched with some of his most upbeat and catchy music in years.  I'm loving "Puzzled By People," "Without Thinking," "Those That Don't Know," and "Soldiers."

When Skinner wrote "Dry Your Eyes" for "A Grand" he probably knew he'd taken his art to a different level, but probably didn't know he'd written a cultural anthem.  It's the heart of the album, and you couldn't fault him for trying to recreate that heartbreak for "Easy Living's" "Never Went to Church."  That heart-on-a-string songwriting is back with "We Can Never Be Friends," which relies on a simple beat and acoustic guitar.  But it's not the heart of this album.  That goes to the emotional, joyous, and very modern love song "OMG."  It's another story-song and filled with so much cute pulled-from-life moments and taps into Skinner's every-bloke in love bit.  It's also just as catchy as it is emotional.  I love it.

Thankfully, the one track that does remain from last years leak is "Trust Me," the song that really popped out to me as something new, fresh, and the right direction for The Streets.  It's the banger that maybe SHOULD have been the first single.  But is also great hearing as the second to last track as it sounds like a victory lap now, not a diamond in the rough as it did from last years leak.  The album ends with "Lock the Locks," a jazzy track that seems to be a fitting ending.

I'm really happy with this record, check it out.



Going Through Hell

Trust Me

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