The classic debut before he went a bit soft. This was genuinely thrilling back in 2002 and it's combination of UK garage/hip-hop and Mike Skinner's lyrical observations were a unique and fascinating combination. Now we have Sleaford Mods a lot of his work sounds a bit....meh... but this is the good one and still sounds fresh.
Vinyl Double LP £26.99 0809274356819
Reissue 2LP on Rhino.
7/10 Tom 10th June 2018
I remember when I first heard 'Has It Come to This?' I thought it was a joke. The dodgy vocal sampling, Mike Skinner's narration and the cheap sounding piano made me do a sort of laugh-wince. It was around the time that UK garage was pretty huge and I really thought the Streets' debut single would be resigned to the bargain bin in Woolworths within a few weeks.
Obviously, I was wrong because a) the Streets became very popular and b) Original Pirate Material ended up being a pretty decent album when it came out about six months later. I still think 'Has It Come To This' is one of the worst songs on the album, but there are plenty of great songs detailing the life of a cheeky-chappy inner city youth as he navigates the world of council-flat romances and scuffles in Ministry of Sound nightclubs with 'Don't Mug Yourself' being a particular highlight. Upon reflection my initial reaction to the Streets was probably to reject the novelty of a lad from Birmingham speaking in a slightly mock-cockney accent because he sounded like a lot of the twats I went to school with, but the fact that he was doing so so candidly was innovative in its own way.
I'm still not sure the Streets were ever as great as everyone made them out to be, but it was all diminishing returns after their second album A Grand Don't Come For Free so if you're on the fence your best bet is to grab the first two albums and enjoy.
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