Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Making the Ordinary Sublime


There's this band.
They're called The Streets.

And last month the band came out with its fifth and final album,

I'm not quite hip enough
to know exactly what to say
about the quality of the music
and the significance it'll have for the guy's career
and for the music world at large.
But it seems,
he's singing about looking "at the stars / on the roof of your car"
and about visions of babies on screens.
And he talks about facebook relationship status updates
and about being "puzzled by people."
So, yeah, it's just about normal stuff.

I first found out about The Streets
(which is basically Michael Geoffrey "Mike" Skinner,
a rapper from Birmingham, UK - and friends)
when a friend opened up the trunk of his car
and lent me a CD.

That CD was called A Grand Dont Come For Free.
 

 And it's a concept album - which means you have to listen to the whole thing.
or at least you're supposed to,
though Mike Skinner released four of the songs as singles before the whole album came out,
so ... not sure what that means.
It's again about normal stuff


(losing "a thousand quid" - which is like $1K - and being bummed about that,
but then meeting a cute girl at a bar,
chilling with her - "roaching a spliff, watching a TV and that" -
and then things falling apart there,
though our 'hero' learns a thing or two about friendship,
and fixing the TV, his mate recovers the thousand quid,
so all is well.)
but normal stuff imbued with greater significance.
Because he learns things like,
"No one's really there fighting for you in the last garrison
No one except yourself that is, no one except you.
...
Scott can't have my back til the absolute end
Cause he's gotta look out for what's over his horizon."
: We're all on our own, but we've got friends.

A Grand Dont Come For Free is
a very intimate album, very honest;
kinda pathetic, with all the self-pity and everything,
but self-aware. And very, very concrete:
It's telling a story.

It got really good reviews,
when it came out in 2004.
And now, it looks like The Streets' career is coming to an end.
So check 'em out while you still can. (or don't.)
Fair Warning: The Streets' style is like nothing other. A lot of just talking, being intentionally a little off-beat and missing rhymes. And he's talking about the most normal things, so it might throw you off, or bore you, the first go around. But if you stick with it, you're certain to like it. But beware! he doesn't shy away from saying "fuck."

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