Album Review The Streets - The Hardest Way To Make An Easy…4 Stars
A progression in the same way ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’ was from its predecessor, many may miss the point. Don’t be fooled; it’s the same Mike Skinner as ever, and he’s bloody great.
People, by definition, are boring. Really, really bloody soul destroying. Many of them are superior too, or at least think they are. So far up their own arses that they live in a world where Arctic Monkeys speak for every single person under the age of 25 with-no-exceptions-what-so-ever, and, you’d imagine, where Mike Skinner rhyming about anything else other than picking up his giro and petty theft means The End. With the capital letters and hundred foot high text.
They’re wrong. The remarkable thing about The Streets wasn’t (and isn’t) the fact that the lyrics were easy to identify with, but more the fact that Skinner is, was, and probably always will be ‘one of us’. It doesn’t matter what drugs he does, which pop stars he sleeps with and where in the world he ends up, anyone accusing this Brummie of pretention has their heads in the clouds.
So, with that sorted, we’re confronted with an album about rock’n’roll excess and the perils of fame. If DIY had a quid for every time an artist decided to moan about being famous, we’d probably be able to buy ourselves a bloody good coffee maker by now, yet when Skinner starts the eternal whinge, we’re ready to listen. It doesn’t matter than 3 million album sales on we’re back in his front room, listening to him snort coke and contemplate suicide. The charm is still all there. ‘The iron’s been on in my house for about four fucking weeks’, he comments, and you know that whatever the subject matter, it’s still the same old Mike.
Indeed, it’s hard to know just how straight faced ‘The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living’ actually is. Taken at face value it’d be pretty easy to say he’d entirely lost touch, and yet flashes show that, in reality, Skinner is simply offering one of the most brilliant parodies of recent times. Spinal Tap was an effort in pushing comedy to the barriers of realism (after all, Liam Gallagher did think they were a real band), and as the title track takes us through the accounts of his record label, it’s hard to ignore the fact that someone’s tongue has to be firmly in cheek somewhere.
But, as with every Streets album, there’s always the gem. A track so special that not even the harshest of critics could question its worth. Step forward ‘Never Went To Church; a examination of the aftermath of his father’s death, Skinner touches every emotional button you could ever care to mention without any trace of overblown sentiment. It’s a huge neon arrow pointing to just how great a talent the man can be, and one that nobody can deny.
‘The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living’ isn’t the sound of a man selling out, but simply that of one moving on. A progression in the same way ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’ was from its predecessor, many may miss the point. Don’t be fooled; it’s the same Mike Skinner as ever, and he’s bloody great.
Records & Merch
The Hardest Way to Make An Easy Living Double Vinyl
None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive CD
None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive Heavyweight Vinyl
None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive Blue Heavyweight Vinyl
None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive CD + Limited Edition Blue Vinyl
The Streets team up with Master Peace for ‘Wrong Answers Only’
An accompanying video produced and directed by Mike will be arriving next week.
The Streets cancel next year’s live shows
“this has been the worst week of the worst year of my life”
The Streets announce UK headline tour
Taking place early next year!
The Streets remix Greentea Peng’s ‘Free My People’
Mike Skinner adds a new verse to the sleek track.