• Record Label: Vice
  • Release Date: Oct 7, 2008

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. Everything Is Borrowed is a neat about-face, a record that couldn't be more different from its predecessor. Sincere, considered, and poignant, Everything Is Borrowed finds Skinner remaining one of the foremost lyricists in pop music, and so much the better when the focus of his sharp writing is the struggle of weighty concepts instead of flimsy celebrity.
  2. Alternative Press
    What matters is that Everything Is Borrowed is enough of a triumph that despite all evidence to the contrary, you'll be convinced the world is indeed a beautiful place. [Dec 2008, p.153]
  3. 70
    Where the last Streets record was mainly about coming up with new words to describe cocaine, the fourth is surprisingly expansive and often quite deep.
  4. His delightful sense of narrative is virtually missing, and a lot of the verses meander and build to banal choruses.
  5. There’s a brilliant EP lurking somewhere in this record, but Mike Skinner is either too ambitious or too fatigued to rescue it.
  6. Combined with the slick, predominantly live band set-up here it makes for some dreadfully clunky moments.
  7. The result is like a musical cab ride from hell, a forty-minute endurance test of half-baked cockney cod-philosophy.
  8. His backing tracks incorporate more live instrumentation, adding some much-needed musical warmth to complement his lyrics' newfound depth.
  9. Mojo
    While the album has its awkward moments, there are enough slinkily wonderful tunes, gleeful beats and miments of genuine tenderness to make Skinner's transformation not just convincing but also really rather lovely. [Oct 2008, p.100]
  10. More than anything it's just a relief to see this rare talent back from the brink, still, as always, one step ahead of the game
  11. Skinner has consolidated everything he’s done before, chucked in where his head’s at now and come up with an album that, while lacking the visceral thrill of ‘Original Pirate Material’, is a minor masterpiece that will mean a lot to a more select bunch of people.
  12. Despite Skinner’s undeniable verbal and production talents, and his online hand-wringing about embracing positivity without getting cheesy, there is something undeniably sappy about this record that won’t sit well with people expecting to hear more mockney slander about drunken gits.
  13. It's a more varied listen but also markedly lesser in impact.
  14. His new record retains The Streets’ puckish charm while showing signs of maturity.
  15. In the end, though, Everything Is Borrowed's musical high points aren't enough to save it from its lyric sheet, and that, going forward, constitutes a real problem for Skinner.
  16. The problem is that the lines may be good, but the danger is gone.
  17. The overall effect is a more diluted sound, in keeping with the watering down of Skinner's diatribes.
  18. Q Magazine
    Everything Is Borrowed is a huge disappointment, riding in on the crest of the huge disappointment that was Skinner's previous album. [Oct 2008, p.140
  19. Like the core message of Everything Is Borrowed, this album will, unfortunately, come and go soon enough, little trace left behind.
  20. On his fourth set, he addresses loftier themes--religion, mortality, ecology--without sounding dorky; it's like he's been woodshedding with Obama's speechwriting team.
  21. Everything in the entire album is really just catching up to Skinner's words.
  22. 80
    Over inventive arrangements that feature more live instrumentation than on any other Streets album, Skinner gives maturity a fresh coat of meaning.
  23. Skinner's self-actualization prattle would be more admirable if it had any real insight, but the best he can offer are cheap aphorisms tailor-made for tote bags.
  24. Even though his heavy drug phase seems to be largely over, Borrowed is his "Sgt. Pepper"--not because he’s spelunking far-flung experimental trenches, but because he finally understands that life is larger than his ego (self-depreciating as it was).
  25. Each listen reveals more light and shade, reaffirming Skinner's position as one of Britain's truly interesting stars.
  26. The emotional density lurking in Mr. Skinner’s early work is mostly absent. Worse still, he’s tightened up his rapping, largely sticking to simple patterns that when paired with simple ideas, are numbing.
  27. Uncut
    The devil is in the detail--and Skinner's devilish side is his most appealing.[Oct 2008, p.108]
  28. Under The Radar
    Sober living has brought back Skinner’s musical fire, and it has given him a new perspective that is sometimes fascinating but too often cliched. [Winter 2008]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 17
  2. Negative: 4 out of 17
  1. Apr 18, 2016
    Mike Skinner took a very different approach to this particular Streets album than the three that came before it. He decided to eschewMike Skinner took a very different approach to this particular Streets album than the three that came before it. He decided to eschew references to modern life, drama and fame in favour of positivity, philosophy and religious references. It's quite an ambitious left turn considering the aggressive nature of albums like A Grand Don't Come for Free. Lyrically, it shows a very different side to Skinner, and musically it is considerably more atmospheric and mellow. However, his vocal delivery is very awkward for the most part, which isn't helped by the pairing of lines that not only don't rhyme, but lack rhythmic consistency, like the guy was just jotting down a brainstorm of random philosophical ideas and used them as final lyrics. It's an album likely to turn away quite a few of his early fans, but you can't knock the guy too much for doing what he wanted with his musical direction. Full Review »
  2. LeahT.
    Oct 16, 2008
    A Much better album than what some critics are saying...a few moments of sheer brilliance are here.
  3. oldhollywood
    Oct 16, 2008
    Eminem and his white-trash rhymes gave the white rapper a bad name. One got the feeling that Dr. Dre was just patronizing the dude from Eminem and his white-trash rhymes gave the white rapper a bad name. One got the feeling that Dr. Dre was just patronizing the dude from Detroit with all those circus beats and kiddie videos. Fortunately, acts like the Beastie Boys, House of Pain, and Bubba Sparxxx have established a solid enough foundation for white MCs that no one dud can bring down the whole lot. The man of the moment is Mike Skinner, aka The Streets. Emerging from the UK's grimecore scene with Dizzee Rascal, The Streets broke out by documenting the formerly mundane elements of everyday life behind garage beats and the Rn'B prowess of hook-singer Leo the Lion. While The Streets' debut in 2002 was a hit, their albums have gotten better with every turn, including a concept album in 2004's A Grand Don't Come for Free and 2006's decadent The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living. Leo the Lion is no where to be found on Everything is Borrowed, as Skinner has assumed almost all of the responsibility for singing the hooks now. It's cool to hear Skinner's singing voice grow stronger from some pitchy moments on Grand to competent performances on new tracks like 'The Way of the Dodo'. But Skinner's bread and butter is his lyrics and there are some classic moments on Borrowed like 'Heaven for the Weather'. There's a lot more live instrumentation this time too, like some great reggae-tinged guitar on 'Never Give In'. Lily Allen shows up on the title track. 'The Sherry End' has a nice 70s retro feel like something from a lost episode of Charlie's Angels. Borrowed is The Streets' strongest production to date. A lot of reviews have cited the new album's introspective flavor. And while there are some sensitive songs like 'Strongest Person I Know', there are plenty of lyrical hints that The Streets haven't totally mellowed out. Full Review »