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The Streets come up empty

October 7, 2008
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The Streets

Everything Is Borrowed (Vice)

ESSENTIAL "The Sherry End"

Over the course of his career, Mike Skinner (who performs as the Streets) has come across as a rap-pop version of Mike Leigh who keenly chronicles the quotidian life of the down and out in Great Britain with wit, pathos, and insight. But with his last few records the well has been running dry, and this deeply disappointing new disc clearly proves that he's in need of new sources of inspiration. Instead of his usual detailed portraits of lives lived and choices made, Skinner seems to have been taking self-actualization courses. Many of these new songs are built around broad, hooky phrases ("I came to this world with nothing/ And leave with nothing but love" or "When you're bad/ You feel sad/ That's the religion I live by") that sound like outtakes from Guru Pitka. His delightful sense of narrative is virtually missing, and a lot of the verses meander and build to banal choruses. Worse, the music is pedestrian light rock with subtle keys and gliding basslines but little bite or spark. A few tracks, like the witty "The Sherry End," show that he's capable of so much more, but most of these Streets are barren. [Ken Capobianco]

'Honey' is too sweet for its own good

The Streets come up empty

Hynde gets to the roots

A singular sound sustained

Girls still just want to have fun

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