Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Streets Everything is Borrowed

The Streets
Everything is Borrowed

There couldn't be a more unlikely rap star. Mike Skinner, aka The Streets is skinny, white, and extremely British. With the release of his 2002 debut album, however, the London suburbanite gave hip hop an entirely new—and decidedly squeakier—voice. (You know a guy's good when he can rhyme about having tea with his mum and still make it interesting.)

After the disappointing 2006 "The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living," Skinner is back on track with his fourth album. The childish humor of past records has largely given way to reflection, but Skinner shows his wit is a sharp as ever when he sings "I want to go to heaven for the weather/But hell for the company." Though the usual off-key singing remains, the songs are more restrained and have a definite world-weary vibe. The simplest tracks are the best, including the guitar vamp "The Way of the Dodo" and the soft-hearted title track. Even the super sappy "The Strongest Person I Know" comes off as lovable.

Rating: 3.5 of 4
For fans of: MIA, The Futureheads

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