Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Streets - A Grand Dont Come For Free

UK Garage concept album by Birmingham based Grime/Alternative Hip-Hop artists Mike Skinner. This album has a focus, the focus is the story, without spoiling it, the story follows a basic structure, some highs some lows.. many lows actually. It's a lyrical album with nice backing tracks.

The first track is a great Garage track with specific, story based introduction to the album, sang in a spoken word style. 'Could Well Be In' is a nice piano based, with a 2-Step beat. It has a nice harmonic chorus, this song's one of the better, easy listening, lyrical songs. The opening songs set up the story rather well, it's a fifth of the album so you don't really know what to expect at this point, but it has great promise, Could Well Be In also has a very nice chorus.

'Blinded By The Light's' is in the style of a Dubstep song, it has a Club feel to it, that's partly due to the lyrics referencing his time spent at a club, getting high but feeling drunk. Many of the tracks are very good lyrically, but others are better for its instrumentation, such as 'You're Fit But You Know It'. This track has a killing guitar riff running this track, with a great fast paced vocal on top. Lyrics a little cheesy, but that's common as it's based on going on holiday, being cheesy in itself (from an English perspective).

'You're Fit But You Know It' is one of the better tracks from the album, much alike 'Dry Your Eyes', which is also one of the strong parts. Great string instrumentation opens it, before the light 2 Step beat and acoustic guitar kick in and the song moves forward towards a doomed, sad song about a broken relationship, regret among other things.

'Empty Cans' is the strongest track, that's what I feel. It finishes the album with a great two part 8 minute epic end. The beat is perfect for this, as the the strings play the rhythm, bass runs through in the back but in a small low, comedic style. it's a sad song again, also a happy song. it focuses on two separate alternative stories. One about Mike having a fight with a TV repair man, the other about a more happier ending, which i wont reveal as it will ruin the album. The piano playing on this second part is beautiful, it replaces then soft sparse strings. The second part is one of the best parts about this album, a small string build up with the escalating piano playing and harmonic vocals which is hard to understand as the majority is spoken word. This harmonic vocal work is repeated at the end, it's a great ending to the concept, the story is complete.