The Streets - Original Pirate Material (Cover Artwork)

The Streets

The Streets: Original Pirate MaterialOriginal Pirate Material (2002)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 5

Contributed by: Tinusch
(others by this writer | submit your own)

My friends, I forewarn you that I compose this review in a caffeine-induced stupor, so I petition you for forgiveness and understanding for its dodginess and/or incoherence. I work in a coffee shop, you see, and in a moment of sheer boredom, I and a fellow coworker decided to engage in a friendly ma.

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My friends, I forewarn you that I compose this review in a caffeine-induced stupor, so I petition you for forgiveness and understanding for its dodginess and/or incoherence. I work in a coffee shop, you see, and in a moment of sheer boredom, I and a fellow coworker decided to engage in a friendly match of espresso shots. Now, to the uninitiated, 10 shots may not seem like many, but I assure you otherwise. I feebly construct this review with hands trembling, stomach churning, and head swirling. I swear I must have hit the Backspace key about 100 times already. My friends, no one wins in espresso shots. I also forewarn you that this review is delivered from a very American viewpoint. If you're British, this review will most likely make little sense to you. If you're a sheltered American boy like myself (and I ‚??m sure that most of you are), you, hopefully, will be able to understand my explanations.

For the benefit of those with short attention spans, I will now break this review into four main parts: 1) The obligatory introductory anecdote, 2) A justification of why this review is on this site, 3) Some information on The Streets and their music, and 4) a short conclusion. Let us begin.

On the ride home from work, I was enjoying my most recent music purchase, a band I had just recently learned of, The Streets. In what can only be described as an epiphany, my mind instantly began constructing a review, and also justifying why it belongs on a punk site. Now, anyone who knows anything about The Streets knows that they are NOT punk rock. Not by a longshot. It defies pigeonholing, but if I must pigeonhole, I will pigeonhole it as British hip-hop. It could also be called British rap, I suppose. Most accurately, probably somewhere snugly in between those two categorizations. I sense the punker-than-thou's beginning to open their punk rock mouths in protest. I hereby slap them shut and exhort all the would-be naysayers to either keep quiet or click "Back." "Back" is a button typically found in the upper-left hand corner of your browser window. "Back" utilizes the flexibility of the Internet by allowing you to return to the previous page. If you are considering objecting to the validity of this review, I urge you to employ the use of "Back."

Now that the punk rock mouths have been collectively shut, I will humor you all by explaining just why I feel this review can coexist with other, more punk-oriented reviews. Aurally, British rap and punk rock are worlds apart. But what I feel ties The Streets to the punk community and the classic punk mentality is the brutal honesty and politically- and socially-conscious lyrics. The Streets have been likened to the Sex Pistols, and in regards to their lyrics and straightforward delivery, I wholeheartedly agree. Also, the idea of British rap is something that almost all open-minded American listeners should get a kick out of. Hearing every word perfectly enunciated with a thick British accent is a refreshing change to the rap/hip-hop we're probably used to hearing. It will most likely evoke a few titters and giggles, but underneath the initial awkwardness lies depth and gritty truth. I also justify this review by directing your attention to the Jurassic 5 review recently posted, which is undoubtedly even further from "punk" than The Streets are.

The Streets consist basically of 22-year-old Mike Skinner, who is all too familiar with the harsh realities of English street life. His lyrics are presented with a calm, collected vocal delivery, in Mike's funny little British voice and through his funny little British teeth. Whether his style can actually be called "rapping" is debatable, but for lack of a better term, I will call it rapping. Sorry if that offends. I am currently at a bit of a loss for how to adequately describe his colorful lyrical style (attribute that to the caffeine, I suppose), but they are undoubtedly the sharpest, wittiest lyrics I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. But they are, at the same time, very serious, dealing with life on the streets and some of the vices and pressures associated with it, but emphasizing a broader message throughout, that of staying positive even in the toughest of circumstances. Mike Skinner is a creative genius, that much is certain. His words are, as previously mentioned, delivered with typical British accuracy and clarity, and his vocabulary is sophisticated and intelligent. Example, from track 3, Let's Push Things Forward: "As we progress to the checkpoint, I wholeheartedly agree with your viewpoint. But this ain't your typical garage joint. I make points which hold significance." Imagine those lyrics being rapped. By a little guy with a British accent. With incredibly catchy and hypnotic beats in the background. It's irresistible. And these accolades are coming from a kid who absolutely despises rap (I'm referring to myself now). That also happens to be one of the standout tracks, along with track 11, The Irony Of It All ‚?? a brilliant point-counterpoint "conversation" between a "street thug" and a peaceful citizen. This fantastically executed track is both thought provoking and hilarious. "Why you cheeky little swine - come here, I'm gonna batter you." (I love the British.) If you intend to download any of these songs to get a taste of The Streets, I recommend this one above all others. (Not that I condone downloading music‚?¶ of course not.)

Now, maybe my intense adoration of this record comes primarily from the novelty of the concept itself ‚?? I've never heard British rap before, though I know it exists. It has to. Rap is a plague, unhindered by political boundaries (Just my opinion of course). But this is so much different from anything this sheltered American boy has ever heard. I love the personality and flavor each song has, and I absolutely love the sharp and creative lyrics. It sure beats hearing about bitches and bling-bling. Forgive me if "bling-bling" doesn't work in that context, but I've no idea what it means. I suspect you don't either. If you're looking for something very new and very different, and are a fan of intelligent lyrics, then I don't really know how you could go wrong with this one. Even the adamantly anti-rap (me included) might like this. Even if they don't, the ingenuity and sincerity can't be denied. Do yourself a favor and give this one a chance.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (December 18, 2003)

In my opinion the Manic Street Preachers are the best British band although they have been a bit quiet latley, I am British and really like some American Punk they practically have a monopoly on punk since it became mainstream in the mid 90's. The UK tend to have more inde bands rather than punk bands Feeder are gona be big in the USA saw them in Belfast the other night and they put on a cracking show.

Melvyl (December 21, 2002)

to the guy who down there gave me shit about liking hundred reasons:

yeah, i like them, yes, i know they sound like everyone else just slighty poppier but they put on a really great liveshow and since i can't really go to anymore atd-i shows i have to listen to this downwatered version, but yeah, i admit that it's fucked that sparta opened for hr on a uk tour...

Anonymous (December 20, 2002)

I really loved Streets until I saw him live... It was a fucking disgrace! He had his lyrics being fed to him through a head set he wore! It looked like Britney Spears! Wot a disgrace!

Anonymous (December 20, 2002)

Correction. the 'concepts' for his lyrics are good, the actual lyrics are god awful

Anonymous (December 20, 2002)

To the guy bashing all "garage music," I doubt those bands you mentioned have anywhere near the lyrical depth as The Streets. Seriously, their music may not be the most appealing, but the lyrics are sharp. Listen to "Stay Positive," for example.

And to the anti-Strokes guy, again, just because it's hyped doesn't mean it's bad. And also, just because it's not punk doesn't mean it's bad. Personally, I like the Strokes a lot. Almost all non-punk reviews will agree with me. Is the punk community just so much more sophisticated and refined that they know what's good and everyone else is wrong? Or could it be a matter of... opinion???

waste_elite (December 20, 2002)

too many people

Anonymous (December 19, 2002)

Who listens to punk?

waste_elite (December 18, 2002)

yeah, but...

who listens to ska?

Anonymous (December 18, 2002)

"The US has way more talent than the UK when it comes to hip-hop and punk/hardcore/ska."

I'm not gonna say "YOU'RE NOT FROM ENGLAND", cos I could be wrong and you might just have terrible taste. But I know for sure that I'm from England and that our Ska scene is really the best one in the world. American ska is just a bunch of whiney suburbanites droning on and on about relationships to a dinky little guitar riff in the background. English Ska started in Brixton... with Caribean immigrants. Fuck American ska, escpecially the overrated "Less Than Jake", cos England is the secnd place it started, next to Jamaica. The Specials are to Ska what the Ramones (I admit that they were before the Pistols) were to punk... the first and the best. I challenge you to prove me wrong.

Anonymous (December 18, 2002)

wow. this review was possibly the funniest thing i've read in a while

Anonymous (December 18, 2002)

Shit I'm so mad with this review being on this website I'm having to write in twice. Everyone fucking review bigged up The Strokes and look how "great" they are. Fuck You. And The Vines being the "new" Nirvana, fuck that too. In fact fuck all the "big" reviews, most music magazines suck dick. The Streets are shit, full stop (period for all you Yankees.

Anonymous (December 18, 2002)

Man the Streets are so shit, the people who listen to the Streets in the UK are not "cool". Garage music (wot its called here in the UK, but not the same as "garage rock" like The Strokes - which incidently is also shit)) is shit if you like the Streets you'll probably like crap like "So Solid Crew" and "Pay As You Go Cartel??!!". Fuck this shit.

Anonymous (December 18, 2002)

And to the conspiracy theorist way down at the bottom... "The hype machine?" What the fuck? Because The Streets were hyped, no one is allowed to listen to them? Maybe they were hyped because they were... good??? I heard a song, I liked it, I bought the CD, I liked the rest just as much. I really don't see your point, if you have one. And if they really were so bad they could never get signed without the exploitation of one song, then why does almost every (non-punk) review praise it? It's okay if it doesn't appeal to you personally, but that doesn't mean it sucks. Didn't you learn that around 4th grade or so?

Anonymous (December 18, 2002)

It's funny (not really funny so much as sad) that almost everyone outside the punk community thinks this is good, but everyone within it insists it sucks.

Also, to the language nazi a few posts down, I believe I mentioned it was reviewed from a very American point of view, and British people might not understand my points as well as sheltered Amercians would. I think I made that pretty clear.

Anonymous (December 18, 2002)

this is utter badness. seriously utter badness

man this is so bad.

Anonymous (December 18, 2002)

did some just say hundred reasons are a good band?!?!

omg You can have em please have em ............. TAKE THEM NOW
HR are whats wrong with the music scene today

Melvyl (December 18, 2002)

if there are uk people here, why don't you review shows? shows in the uk kicks ass.

hundred reasons is englands best band.

Anonymous (December 18, 2002)

"Initial awkwardness??"" English accent??!! hahahahahahaha It was them that fuckin invented the language! American English is more awkward than English!

Anonymous (December 18, 2002)

shouldnt be on here. all it is is alot of cockney rubbish. Some guy talking over music = shite.

kirbypuckett (December 17, 2002)

I really like the cover art.

- Scott
(I've got so many problems)

Anonymous (December 17, 2002)

Wot is this doin on a punk site. Streets r not real punx

Miqa_lad (December 17, 2002)

i.e its balls
the streets=the shits

Miqa_lad (December 17, 2002)

I live in England and the Streets is one man who doesnt rap but says stuff, like he is talking about his day. eg "Went down the pub got served full english."

Tahoejeff (December 17, 2002)

10 shots....wow.. did you write this review while you were on the can? I pity your Digestive system.

Anonymous (December 17, 2002)

by saying snuff are the biggest punk band in england at the moment i realise that i might have opened a Whole new can of worms...... so chill it was an example i do realise that there are other bands ... but snuff are the only one that springs to my mind who tour reguarly

Anonymous (December 17, 2002)

im confused...... these guys really do suck, Yes they are good for a laff cheeky cockney, BUT and this is a major but.. after the first 3 songs, i found them irritating now I may be a little close minded, but come on this guy doesn't even remember the lyrics to his songs he has an ear peice at the gig and the lyrics are streamed to him .... thats just sad!.

is this the best in music that us brits has to offer.... the way everyone has been bangin' (see im now a cockney) on about these guys u would say yes... this is the best we have to offer.... Look at snuff, possibly the best british "big" punk band its a sad sad time in England.


danm (December 17, 2002)

My Mom said she wanted this album for christmas, too bad I can't find it anywhere.

Melvyl (December 17, 2002)

actually it's one guy.

and he is terrible live.

waste_elite (December 17, 2002)

sounds interesting...

Anonymous (December 17, 2002)

I've heard a lot about these guys, and nothing but good things. I need to check them out.

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