User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 203 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 25 out of 203

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  1. rogers
    Jul 28, 2005
    10
    This CD is incredible. I can listen to it all the time and get something new from it. To Trust or not to Trust that is the name of the Game.
  2. elainec
    May 24, 2004
    9
    complete original anybody who slates this album will be eating their words in years to come, a sure classic!!!
  3. LaviniaH
    Jan 19, 2007
    10
    loved it
  4. bruceh
    Aug 2, 2004
    10
    its good
  5. EvanP
    May 20, 2004
    10
    A modern day flaneur, creating a philosophy upon the most mundane of daily activities. His concept is simple; it just a day in the life of Mike Skinner.
  6. GennaroF
    May 20, 2004
    10
    Brilliant!!! let all the naysayers eat a D$#@. We love you M.S. keep it comin.RESPECT
  7. JasonT
    May 30, 2004
    9
    Doesn't have the stand out tracks of Original Pirate Material, but still is a great collection of musings. "Empty Cans" is a brilliant record.
  8. AndrewT
    Jun 3, 2004
    10
    Pure Quality! Great story on top of good beats. Dry Your eyes is by far The Streets best ever song.
  9. DJ
    Aug 2, 2004
    10
    its of the hook
  10. Kel
    Dec 1, 2005
    10
    The album that follows a successful debut LP presents a significant problem. Do you rinse, wash and repeat the previous formula, hoping that it will sound just as good the second time round, or do you attempt to explore new territory with the risk of alienating old fans and failing to acquire new ones? A copy-cat album would most likely have seen The Streets branded as a one hit wonder The album that follows a successful debut LP presents a significant problem. Do you rinse, wash and repeat the previous formula, hoping that it will sound just as good the second time round, or do you attempt to explore new territory with the risk of alienating old fans and failing to acquire new ones? A copy-cat album would most likely have seen The Streets branded as a one hit wonder parody and this undoubtedly played on his mind as he attempted to conjure up an album that would stay true to his everyday UK style roots whilst, at the same time, charting new waters. This he has achieved by producing an intoxicating mix of old and new. There are many thematic similarities between 'A Grand Don't Come For Free' and 'Original Pirate Material'. For 'Blinded By The Lights' read 'Weak Become Heroes'. For 'Fit But You Know It' read 'Don't Mug Yourself'. For 'Dry Your Eyes' read 'It's Too Late'. But it's here that the similarities end, for unlike its predecessor, 'A Grand Don't Come For Free' can be loosely termed a concept album. But unlike the pretentious art-rock efforts of years gone by, AGDCFF is not a po-faced attempt at communicating the meaning of life to a mentally Expand
  11. Claire
    Mar 6, 2005
    10
    great albumn and even better when hes live!!
  12. Joel
    Jul 9, 2005
    9
    This album is difficult to define. It's like "The Office" meets "The Wall" or something. The quality of the rapping (or talking) and music is usually nothing to write your homies about, but somehow the end result works great. I've listened to it about five times now straight through, and I rarely listen to albums straight through. Great piece of work they made.
  13. Pelicaine
    Oct 28, 2006
    9
    Some of the most unique beats I've ever heard. This album is well put-together. An enjoyable story that gets better with each listen. Get this album any way you can! A must-hear.
  14. NG
    May 15, 2004
    10
    Mike Skinner took a lot of risks to make this album. The first time I listened to it, I thought that is was less than Original Pirate Material, but the more you listen to it, the more the pieces fall together. Briljant album; if this is the best album of 2004, I think we have no right to complain.
  15. Hales
    May 25, 2004
    10
    master pece for the first time in a long time it's an album thats moved me
  16. [Anonymous]
    May 20, 2004
    10
    Bloody Superb!!!!
  17. GennaroF
    May 20, 2004
    10
    Brilliant!!! let all the naysayers eat a D$#@. We love you M.S. keep it comin.RESPECT
  18. GennaroF
    May 20, 2004
    10
    Brilliant!!! let all the naysayers eat a D$#@. We love you M.S. keep it comin.RESPECT
  19. PHOEBEP
    Aug 9, 2004
    9
    GRAND DONT COME FOR FREE is a really majestic album. I find The Strees a great new breath of good shit. Keep it up, yeah.
  20. AndyS
    Sep 6, 2004
    10
    This Cd is one of those that gets better and better with each listen. A Grand Dont Come For Free sounds completely original and moving on from the made for schoolgirls poppy hip hop and garage scenes. This Cd isnt about the music or skinners vocal talent, which arent tewrrible but not outstanding, but his delivery is spot on, moreover the lyrics are honest, funny, witty and expressive. This Cd is one of those that gets better and better with each listen. A Grand Dont Come For Free sounds completely original and moving on from the made for schoolgirls poppy hip hop and garage scenes. This Cd isnt about the music or skinners vocal talent, which arent tewrrible but not outstanding, but his delivery is spot on, moreover the lyrics are honest, funny, witty and expressive. Its more like looking into the mind of the average british teenager, listening to his thoughts and events. This is what makes it stand out as a modern classic. Some may not get how listening to someone talking is music, and maybe it isnt exactly, but I just cant get enough of the humour and intelligent lyrics. And pretty much anyone can relate to the lyrics. Skinner isnt the British equivalent of eminem, its nothing to do with him being white or anything like that. The Streets is in a class of his own, and this album is a classic. Expand
  21. AdamM
    Jan 20, 2005
    9
    this is a great album that holds a hidden story if listned to correctli
  22. joolzmonks
    Jan 9, 2005
    10
    Best album I've come across in about a decade. Well, five years at least.
  23. flatulantfarts
    Feb 3, 2005
    10
    yea!!
  24. Chrisc
    Feb 3, 2005
    10
    at the end of the record, you feel as if you have reached nirvana
  25. ElizabethR
    Mar 1, 2005
    10
    This album is amazing. Mike Skinner talks about the most normal things in the most minute detail that really makes you think. If you pay attention, the songs all together also tell a story, which is something I've never heard before. Much more polished and together than "Original Pirate Material."
  26. JoyL
    Apr 18, 2005
    9
    Great Album. Even better in concert. Although for me Original Pirate Material is still my favorite Skinner album.
  27. BriannaJ
    May 20, 2005
    10
    I am AMAZED!
  28. critic.xhost.ro
    Aug 7, 2005
    10
    the whole album story is greatly depicted, very nice tracks and awesome beats, esp "blinded by the light" and "dry your eyes"
  29. Scholesy
    Oct 19, 2006
    10
    Better than OPM. MUCH better. This album is a true storytelling classic
  30. Paulie
    Jan 4, 2006
    9
    The spirit of Ian Drury lives on .
  31. dannyw
    Jan 13, 2007
    10
    mint
  32. AbiC
    Nov 1, 2004
    10
    this album is truly original and uniqe i give it 10 out of ten because i am totally in love with this album.
  33. SethB.
    Dec 2, 2004
    10
    The first song I heard off of this album was What Is He Thinking...I was drunk off a couple of forties, and my brother and I were making a jingle for the top twenty underground music count down in Wisconsin...we thought the song was terrible, and an hour later we were kind of curious and went back and played track one. We listened to every word from track one to the last track, and The first song I heard off of this album was What Is He Thinking...I was drunk off a couple of forties, and my brother and I were making a jingle for the top twenty underground music count down in Wisconsin...we thought the song was terrible, and an hour later we were kind of curious and went back and played track one. We listened to every word from track one to the last track, and didn't really say anything about it because we'd spent ten or twenty minutes dissing it earlier, saying how we rap a billion times better, and blah blah. Over the next few days, we kept finding each other listenening to a song and quickly closing the window when the other walked in. This album, we eventually decided, was the best hiphop album in a fukin' long time. His rhyme's suck, his flow is a bit off, and a lot of thug types we played it to said it was crap, but the guy's a poet. He's not the "Eminem Of British Rap"--he's Guy Ritchie of rap music. Everything about this album is perfected, as far as I'm concerned. When he sounds as though he's reading off a piece of paper, it's as though he has formed a picture and wants us to appreciate it word for word, not ride along to the crappy beats. I was surprised by how many people liked this album; I thought no one would understand the story and the real life shit that went into this. Everyone I play it for, though, is hooked. Whatever. Its a hell of an album, and it ranks on my top ten favorite albums, and will for a long time. Anyone who's bit fucked over once or twice, and is paranoid about life, knows about empty cans. Seth of the 12 Professors. Expand
  34. robinr
    Dec 2, 2004
    10
    Great album... nobody and i say nobody makes this kind of music.. inovative and extreem. Lyrics that people can relate to and maybe even some phylosofie in the tracks Brilliant
  35. RyanM
    Oct 4, 2004
    10
    just 1 word for this album BRILLIANT !!!
  36. MelS
    May 15, 2004
    10
    One of the best CD's released in the past few years. It doesn't matter if you like rap or not, you should listen to this album.
  37. SeanC
    May 16, 2004
    10
    This disc is brilliant.
  38. MartB
    May 20, 2004
    10
    Mike is a class above everyone else.Brilliant album.Get it.
  39. JeffFormOz
    May 24, 2004
    10
    exceptional album.
  40. DaveV
    May 27, 2004
    9
    It took guts to make a concept album in the genre, great stuff
  41. LawrenceP
    May 31, 2004
    9
    At first listen i didn't think this record was beter than "Original Pirate Material." I was wrong...Mike has showned me a side of him i didn't think he had in him. Good job mate...keep up the good work.
  42. nico
    Jun 8, 2004
    10
    Genius. Make sure you listen to it from start to finish.
  43. ihlfilug
    Jul 11, 2004
    10
    cool
  44. JohnnyA
    Jan 15, 2005
    10
    I love it!
  45. AdamR
    Jan 4, 2005
    10
    This album requires some time and some attention, but if a listener is willing to spend enough of both, he or she will be able to appreciate an album that better captures the importance and significance of everyday events than any other I've ever heard. Mike Skinner simultaneously rejects and worships a wide range of musical genres in order to combine them into whatever will capture This album requires some time and some attention, but if a listener is willing to spend enough of both, he or she will be able to appreciate an album that better captures the importance and significance of everyday events than any other I've ever heard. Mike Skinner simultaneously rejects and worships a wide range of musical genres in order to combine them into whatever will capture the part of his story he is sharing with us at the time. Truly a transcendent work. Expand
  46. StoP
    Mar 18, 2005
    10
    If you are expecting Original Pirate Material then you are expecting too much. What Mike Skinner did with his debut is not repeated here wit A Grand Don't Come for Free. A Grand is it's entity, chalk full of narative, a great lead character in the pill popping s Skinner himself, and a ssupporting cast full of turncoat mates, angry birds and fit as all hellll beeyatches. Skinner If you are expecting Original Pirate Material then you are expecting too much. What Mike Skinner did with his debut is not repeated here wit A Grand Don't Come for Free. A Grand is it's entity, chalk full of narative, a great lead character in the pill popping s Skinner himself, and a ssupporting cast full of turncoat mates, angry birds and fit as all hellll beeyatches. Skinner is telling a tale of woe that we all go through from time to time . He has given a voice to the self aware youth that reside in the urban landscapes of not only London but NYC ,Chicago, LA, etc. A Grand is a triuphant narrative that is mixed into a personal soundscape of pots and pans beatss, machine-gun fire guitars, chilled out after party grooves, and a doubled up surprise ending that is not only told once but rewound and told again. From which perspective do ou believe is purely upto the listener. The Streets are the shiznitz. hands down one of the best albums of the year. Expand
  47. matta
    May 27, 2005
    9
    A great album and so special becuase MIke Skinner truly is making music like no one else. Original Pirate Material was, song for song, probably a better record, but this one is so intriguing and works so well becuase Skinner's ability to tell a truly engrossing story over the course of this cd's eleven tracks. great stuff.
  48. ThomasM
    Jun 19, 2005
    10
    1 of the best albums ever skinners jus wicked and it was the best concert ive bin 2 an its great music 2 get lost in
  49. ZachL.
    Jul 23, 2005
    9
    This album is definetly best when listened to in it's entirety. Definetly unique and innnovative.
  50. ChrisT
    Oct 13, 2006
    10
    Skinner is lyrically amazing. His songs flow is great, and is accent while rapping is an amazing asset to his songs. He can take really normal situations, and relay them in a perfect sence.
  51. JoshS
    Feb 12, 2006
    9
    A great follow-up album and depicts a young-single man's life with his mates, girls and money excellently
  52. davec
    Feb 28, 2006
    10
    i love this album its great. blinded by the lights is awesome
  53. PaulV
    Mar 11, 2006
    10
    I hate rap, and I mean REALLY HATE. But this album? it's absolutely fantastic - It's just plain unique, Skinner has created an absolutely amazing, unique and creative album that has nothing else to compare with. Some nice easy background music. 100% recommended - and just to reiterate, I _HATE_ rap, but BUY THIS!
  54. TomR
    Mar 19, 2006
    10
    First off, THIS IS NOT HIP-HOP OR RAP! THIS IS NOT your normal music. So for all of you who expect that and can't handle a truly new form of music, move on. This is for those of you that GET music, that recognize someone that is not only good for creating something new, but also for the genious it. It's a form of spoken word over overly complex programming...mostly off beat. First off, THIS IS NOT HIP-HOP OR RAP! THIS IS NOT your normal music. So for all of you who expect that and can't handle a truly new form of music, move on. This is for those of you that GET music, that recognize someone that is not only good for creating something new, but also for the genious it. It's a form of spoken word over overly complex programming...mostly off beat. This album is a story. It's emotion. It's human. The beats are random at first, but organized and structured perfectly to complement Skinner's delivery. A Grand creates a world for the listener to drop into. It's not your life, it's not what you're used to hearing, and that's the whole point. It's a reflection of experiences, of maturing, but still maintaining one's identity. From the unknowing opening to the retrospective conclusion, most people should be able to relate to this. A stellar follow up to Original Pirate Material, and one count the days until the release of The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living and see how Mike's perception of life has changed. Expand
  55. sachep
    Mar 28, 2006
    10
    Incredible, unique, - a genius is born.
  56. SimonE
    Apr 21, 2006
    10
    It's at least as good as his first album.
  57. AlexP
    Jun 12, 2007
    9
    Americans don't get this record. LOL at Americans.
  58. AP.
    Feb 20, 2008
    9
    Really cool album! People who say that they don't get it just don't listen to the words or even the music. The story is really cool and the beats are backing vocals are great. (Try out Dizzee Rascal's Boy In Da Corner if you like this) It may at first be a little hard to get used to (being American, it's hard to at first get past the accent) but it's ultimately rewarding!
  59. EliT
    Aug 17, 2009
    9
    Incredible record. When I first listened to it, years ago, I was vaguely impressed, but not engaged. After a few listens some songs started sticking out, I began caring about the narrative more and more. Songs I hated became incredible, all leading up to one of the best closing songs of all time, Empty Cans. If you don't care for it now, give it a listen every 3 or 4 months, you may Incredible record. When I first listened to it, years ago, I was vaguely impressed, but not engaged. After a few listens some songs started sticking out, I began caring about the narrative more and more. Songs I hated became incredible, all leading up to one of the best closing songs of all time, Empty Cans. If you don't care for it now, give it a listen every 3 or 4 months, you may come around to love it. Expand
  60. BryanF
    Nov 11, 2004
    10
    This album was great!
  61. JohnD
    Oct 11, 2004
    9
    this is what hip hop COULD be, but instead we have to listen to Petey Pablo.
  62. bryonf
    Oct 29, 2004
    10
    A Grand... ...the answer to hip hop with meaning
  63. TK
    May 16, 2004
    10
    Masterpiece.
  64. MacThelist
    May 16, 2004
    10
    Truly extraordinary. Like a difficult novel, it bears repeated readings, each of which reveals more of a story, each layer of which is increasingly complex and substantially more satisfying.
  65. JasonS
    Jun 22, 2004
    10
    This almost seems as a sort of homage to the narritive form that one would find in such rock opera's as Quadrophenia or Tommy. Yet, this seems to be executed much better than that. Yes, it's a story, but its a wonderful piece of music as well. It is good to know that someone in the hip hop genre still has innovation on their side. Mike Skinner does not dissappoint.
  66. CJ
    Jul 19, 2004
    10
    Crackin album, And wicked live act!
  67. vinceg
    Aug 18, 2004
    10
    This isnt just an album here; its a story. Mike Skinner transforms simple mundane daily activities into something smart and relevant without comprimising musical content.
  68. JonG
    Sep 23, 2004
    9
    Although not as revolutionary as OPM, AGDCFF still impresses the mind. It's obvious that Mikee hasn't lost his skill of master storytelling, but at some points the flow gives way to the story. Still, an album I will be listening to for years to come. Cheap too, making this as essential as the pricier OPM.
  69. keithm
    Jan 22, 2005
    9
    Wow. From the first word I was swept off my feet into the middle of London, watching the world pass by with a new, fresh perspective. Who knew simple speech could be so profound?
  70. brennenC
    Mar 16, 2005
    10
    Shit man! awsome : )
  71. LouiseB
    Apr 11, 2005
    10
    Now, I know a lot of you think that this album is shit.. but you're all wrong! There's no-one else I have heard that can make an album that tells a story the way Mike does on this. I also don't think that this is only an album for hip-hop lovers cos anyone who loves good lyrics, tunes and catchiness should love this..... but thats only my opinion!
  72. AWeinkle
    Jun 19, 2005
    9
    A refreshingly contemporary, listenable hip-hoppish, gen Y Everyman. My daughters played it this week and this baby boomer was instantly engaged... bought a legit copy of the CD for myself
  73. TimD
    Mar 29, 2006
    10
    A simply brilliant album. Has to be heard to be believed. Great story
  74. pADDYA
    Jul 15, 2007
    9
    Got this for
  75. MattS
    Jul 28, 2009
    9
    One of my favorite albums of all time. When I first got this album I didn't really understand it. Then the song 'Empty Can's came up randomly on my shuffle on my MP3 player about six months later. I was absolutely blown away by the lyrics and immediately played the entire album from start to finish the way it was met to be. A fun and moving album that really relates to One of my favorite albums of all time. When I first got this album I didn't really understand it. Then the song 'Empty Can's came up randomly on my shuffle on my MP3 player about six months later. I was absolutely blown away by the lyrics and immediately played the entire album from start to finish the way it was met to be. A fun and moving album that really relates to pretty much any of us who fell in love at an early age, made a ton of mistakes, and eventually needed to pick themselves back up again. Expand
  76. AlexB
    Dec 14, 2006
    10
    One of the best albums I have listened to in a long time.
  77. Aug 15, 2011
    10
    brilliant from beginning to end,that all I need to say.
  78. Mar 2, 2013
    9
    This album is big in the game! Tells a quality story throughout and tells it from an average person's point of view from getting high to heart break. Quality stuff!
  79. Apr 17, 2013
    10
    An urban hip-hopera masterpiece. Mike Skinner is a genius when it comes to this type of thing and raps over a series of electronic samples and textures. Standout track is obviously Dry Your Eyes.
  80. Apr 14, 2015
    9
    Wow. This album is even better than the first. The Streets have an excellent way of telling stories in such a picturesque way that it almost feels more like a movie than an album.
Metascore
91

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 30
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 30
  3. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. 70
    11 frenetic, oddball, and extremely original tracks. [Jun 2004, p.154]
  2. The problem with "A Grand Don't Come for Free" is that the pieces often work better as stories than as songs.... But it is still a thrill to hear Mr. Skinner toy with the form that he invented.
  3. This makes engrossing listening if the effort suits you, but it's useless as background music.