Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Streets- Everything Is Borrowed- Album Review

Cockney hip hop.  Does it really get any better in that genre than Mike Skinner, aka The Streets?

Okay, so he may be the only artist who actually qualifies in the genre, but that doesn't mean he's not outstanding.

Everything Is Borrowed is the fourth studio album from The Streets (North American release Oct. 7th).  On it we find Skinner up to many of his old tricks musically.  There are the mid-tempo hip hop beats, the odd string arrangement or keyboard for atmosphere.  Nothing we haven't heard from him before, besides a jazzy piano here ("I Love You [More Than You Like Me]") and some Waitsian found-sound percussion there ("Way of the Dodo").

Where Everything Is Borrowed diverges from the usual Streets output is the new found maturity.  Well, maybe maturity may be going to far.  But Skinner definitely does less goofing off with the lyrics.  The songs are deeper and there aren't any tracks that could be appropriated as fratboy anthems a la "Fit But You Know It".

In keeping with the road he started down with "Never Went To Church", Skinner even takes it upon himself to go as far as to talk about man's place in the universe ("The Way of the Dodo").  

He can still have fun and turn a phrase however.  "I want to go to heaven for the weather/Hell for the company" is about as good a chorus as anything he's come up with yet.

Not everything is top shelf.  There are definitely some tracks that got more attention in the studio than others (eg "The Escapist").  

Even though The Streets' sound hasn't evolved much over the course of four records, it's such a unique sound that it still sounds fresh and fun.  

A definite contender for hip hop album of the year.

Best tracks: "Heaven for the Weather", "Everything Is Borrowed"

Track listing for Everything Is Borrowed:
  • Everything Is Borrowed
  • Heaven for the Weather
  • I Love You More (Than You Like Me)
  • Way of the Dodo
  • On the Flip of a Coin
  • On the Edge of a Cliff
  • Never Give In
  • The Sherry End
  • Alleged Legends
  • The Strongest Person I Know
  • The Escapist

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