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A Grand Don't Come for Free
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That question has been answered. Not only did he deliver a better record the second time out, it's almost a concept type album just based on the way it is presented to the listener. Concept album you say? Well, kinda. A Grand Don't Come For Free is basically a day in the life of Mike Skinner. He takes us on very personal, sometimes tough excursions into his mind as well as his surroundings. Rarely does an artist paint such vivid verbal imagery, but from the moment you put it on, you're right there with him. It's almost like a marathon confession and you are the priest behind the divider. Some of the things you here are kinda shocking, not in content but in the way they are everyday to him, the throw-away coupled with the essential, that tends to play havoc with him and you actually feel it.
The single, and lone radio hit, Dry Your Eyes, play out like it's a painful, yet public break-up, and you happened to sitting next to them. Another moment your tramping through a niteclub, high on God knows what, looking for friends who simply are not there (Blinded By The Lights). Desperate stuff indeed.
The album has it's upbeat tracks like Such A Tw*t, but for the most part, it's bigger focus is on the storytelling. Something it does far better than any hip-hop release in recent memory. The Streets second record wakes you up, stays with you all day and then puts you to bed. With any luck, you'll only be exhausted.
If you do like music that sounds different from the outset, that has funny lyrics about something other than the amount of cars or bitches one has, this may be right up your alley. Mike Skinner tells a story all through the cd. It took me a couple of listens before I realized that the songs string together and relate to one another. Listening to it, I felt like I was listening to a friend tell me about his past couple of days. I thought it was refreshingly different and there isn't one song that I fast forward through. Most of all, the guy sounds sincere. I believe what he's saying, that he actually may have experienced these things. I also really enjoyed the english slang and down to earth sense of humor thrown in there.
Just judge it for yourself. It isn't like the "rap" music you often hear in the states. In fact, it wasn't even in the rap section of the store I bought it in originally. It was classified as electronica. Whatever the hell it is, I love it and I hope to hear more from the talented Mr. Skinner.
But the craziest thing happened when I started listening to it a few times. I realzied that not only is this not a novelty, but Mike Skinner, the main man behind the Streets, maybe one of the most inventive people in music now.
"A Grand Don't Come For Free", the Streets second L.P., is a concept record and should be treated as such. The record works its charms when you listen to the whole thing in its entirety, listening to the music and lyrics in one whole listen. To hear merely a track or two and then pressing stop is to do the record a great injustice.
The record gets started off with "It Was Supposed to Be So Easy", which seems, and in fact is, a song about how the little things can start a day off really bad. The charactor of the record, presumebly Skinner himself, returns the case to a DVD back to the video store but forgets to put the DVD in the place(I have done this myself more than once), can't withdraw money from his ATM because of "insufficent funds", forgot to charge his cell phone, and loses a thousand dollars in savings while his friends stand around. That sets the record in motion, and over the course of the next ten songs, Skinner takes one too many ecstasty pills, gets dumped by his girlfriend, tries in vein and fails to hook up with a girl at a bar, loses more money betting on a soccer game, discovers which one of his friends steals his money and can't get his broken T.V. fixed.Read more ›
1. Music artists are interested in creating a larger-than-life public image. It is very important that people believe the artist is MUCH cooler than they are.
2. Popular music is about hooking people with a catchy single. If you can get a song in someone's head, they'll check out the artist.
3. As genres are blended together, everything is starting to sound the same.
Well, Mike Skinner has made an album that proves that none of these things are true.
First, Skinner is not trying to be cool. In fact, he goes out of the way to be as honest and self-aware as possible. Every emotion and private thought is spelled out, even ones he likely wouldn't share with his closest confidant.
Second, this is a concept album. It tells a story, and progresses in a logical, theatrical way. The songs are infectious, but after you experience the album as a whole, it seems WRONG to separate one song. It would be like releasing only one scene from a movie on DVD.
Finally, this album mixes as many genres of music as any other, yet NOBODY is making music that sounds like this.
I listen to this constantly. Every time I hear it, I grin and shake my head in wonder at its brilliance.
It's as fun and emotionally satisfying as anything you're likely to hear for a long time. Buy it and be amazed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This album is awesome. I play the songs all the time. The sounds are sharp and keep the beat moving.Published on September 9, 2013 by Edsel B. Moraleja
This sounds radically different than the first Streets album (Original Pirate Material). It is essentially an album-long story about this guy who loses his money and his... Read morePublished on July 11, 2013 by JSR
I was recently listening to a Cassetteboy album from 2005 (Dead Horse), which clearly sets out to do a demolition job on this album, with one of its first tracks... Read morePublished on December 4, 2010 by Magic Lemur
If you won't something else than gangsta this is perfect. The english accent, the view if english youth-life, it's all in Mike Skinner's direct, sometimes childlike, raps. Read morePublished on November 16, 2010 by M. Buisman
This is a great example of a storytelling album. Great continuity to the story, and of course, great beats and rhymes. Read morePublished on December 19, 2009 by James
I rarely buy albums these days. Most of the time there are only three tracks I like, so I get hold of them, mix them in with all my other stuff and hear them whenever the shuffle... Read morePublished on January 15, 2009 by Mrs Gregson
A lot of this sounds bad. Bad production, bad lines, bad songs. Sure it is more creative then US hip hop but that inherently does not make it good. Read more
When i first listened to this CD through a friend i was intrigued, after carefully listening and being open minded i found myself being bored. Read morePublished on February 1, 2008 by Brian