No Street Cred
Everything is Borrowed, the fourth LP from The Streets, aka Mike Skinner, ditches the bitter self-loathing from his last album, The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living, in favor of refined self-reflection and philosophical gibberish. Throughout the album, Skinner wrecks potentially good tracks by nonchalantly dropping pedestrian verses straight out of 9th grade creative writing class:
â€šÃ„ÃºThe wind of change won’t whistle me away
If I spin my tails and sail
And sail away
Let yesterday become todayâ€šÃ„Ã¹
The production quality is also suspect. Skinner has always been accompanied by sparse beats and Everything is Borrowed is no exception. But since he has taken some heat off of his vocal fastball, the over-compressed backing tracks sound particularly static. “The Way of the Dodo” and “Never Give In” have all the makings of quality music, but their mixes don’t hit hard enough. This leaves Skinner and his apathetic voice sounding naked on the track.
On the Flip of a Coin is easily the album’s standout track. Over a silky arpeggiated piano figure, Skinner’s voice sits nicely in the mix, providing a rhythmic counterpoint to the beat’s fluid melody. “On the Edge of a Cliff” has a stoic horn line and lovely female backing vocals, culminating in a very attractive piece of music. On “The Sherry End,” Skinner celebrates the internal lingo he shares with his boys over a likeable, Jamiroquai-lite beat. Unfortunately, any positive momentum provided by the beats is unraveled by the sheer ineptitude of Skinner’s lyrics.
Unless The Streets steps his game up in terms of production or finds his lyrical mojoâ€šÃ„Ã®or bothâ€šÃ„Ã®his best work is behind him. No longer broke and no longer the underdog persona he created, Everything is Borrowed is the sound of an artist content with life, but bored with making music.