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The Streets - Everything Is Borrowed

The Streets, Everything Is Borrowed

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

MIKE Skinner has apparently announced that his fourth album as The Streets would be his last. Hence, hopes were high that it would be a fitting send-off.

To my mind, it is. Having never been a massive convert to Skinner’s laddish form of social commentary, I entered this album not really expecting much… and came out the other end with largely the same feeling.

It’s pretty much standard Streets material, even though the observations are more global in scale, and the backing music is based more on live instruments than samples.

Skinner’s vocal style has always been a problem for me. He doesn’t really sing, he doesn’t really rap, and he kind of just talks over the backing music he concocts with all the brashness of a London wide boy.

Admittedly, he has matured since his acclaimed debut, and perfected his sound, but Everything Is Borrowed continues to suffer from the same shortcomings as previous collections of work.

Ironically, things begin brightly with the title track Everything Is Borrowed benefitting from some strong background instrumentation and some lovely observations (“just when I love life, it seems to start changing” and “I came to this world with nothing, and I leave with nothing but love”).

It’s an attack on consumerism in many ways, but much more positive and constructive.

Heaven For The Weather continues the optimistic trend and lays down an engagingly melodic platform from which Skinner cheekily talks of wanting to go to heaven for the weather, but reside in hell for the company. It puts a smile on the face.

The melancholy side of Skinner is evident on the piano-soaked I Love You More (Than You Like Me), which speaks candidly of a failing relationship, but the problems begin to set in on The Way Of The Dodo, which gushes forth such stark observations as “it’s not the earth that’s in trouble, but the people that live on it”.

With the majority of artists adding their commentary to the current global situation – both political and environmental – you tend to expected something more intelligent from Skinner than just a prediction that if we don’t buck up our ideas, we’ll go the way of the dodo. More so, since environmentalists are also predicting troubled times ahead for the Earth as well!

Thereafter, there’s a distinctly European feel to the instrumentation of On The Flip Of A Coin, which sits uncomfortably alongside the London-based vocals, while Never Give In is a bass heavy, even punky effort that’s half-heartedly delivered.

There are a couple of better tracks in the form of On The Edge Of A Cliff and the tender Strongest Person I Know, but in the main this isn’t the type of send-off that leaves you wanting more; rather believing it’s a good time to call it an end.

It remains to be seen what Skinner does next, or whether he’ll even remain true to his word.

Download picks: Everything Is Borrowed, Heaven For The Weather, Strongest Person I Know, On The Edge Of A Cliff

Track listing:

  1. Everything Is Borrowed
  2. Heaven For The Weather
  3. I Love You More (Than You Like Me)
  4. Way Of The Dodo
  5. On The Flip Of A Coin
  6. On The Edge Of A Cliff
  7. Never Give In
  8. Sherry End
  9. Alleged Legends
  10. Strongest Person I Know
  11. Escapist