- Summary: Unlike his previous release (which told an album-length story about a fictitious character), Mike Skinner's third Streets album is autobiographical in nature, dealing with the myriad problems that result from being rich and famous.
- Record Label: Vice / 679
- Genre(s): Indie, Rap
- More Details and Credits »
The Streets seem to be maturing musically: Skinner sings more often here and flows more nimbly but every bit as distinctively, and the production is even getting slightly more complex. What the album lacks, then, is any real emotional punch on the level of Skinner’s previous work.
The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living is an exercise in empty nothingness. But it’s not Bacchanalian coked-out excess nothingness, it's the joyless hollow-eyed actions of a man who is waiting for the next fix and doesn't care what bullshit has to come out of his lips in order to get paid.
DuncanAug 3, 2006Brilliant. His best album yet.
AlexNApr 27, 2006Critics love to criticise. It's the sad realities of the world. The fact is, have a read of the reviews. The bias is clear. Those that Critics love to criticise. It's the sad realities of the world. The fact is, have a read of the reviews. The bias is clear. Those that hate it feel that way before they've even heard it. The mere fact that it is a fame album makes them roll their eyes and go "h3ll no" before they've even given it a chance. Truth is, scratch the surface and you'll see that nothing has really changed. Mike is still doing drugs (Prangin' Out meets Blinded By The Lights), getting dumped (All Goes Out The window meets Dry Your Eyes), chasing birds (War Of The Sexes meets Fit But You Know It), engaing in drink and drug fuelled boyish excesses (Hotel Expressionism meets Too Much Brandy) and contemplating the boredom and meaning of his daily realities (Momento Mori meets Same Old Thing). He just happens to be telling the same old stories from the perspective of a very rich man. That's all.… Expand
DavidCMay 7, 2006I'm not a lover of "rap". I own some Jurassic 5 CD's but that's about it. The Streets appeal to a wider audience because I'm not a lover of "rap". I own some Jurassic 5 CD's but that's about it. The Streets appeal to a wider audience because Mike's lyrics (as with those of Arctic Monkeys) speak to the concerns of your average Brit. Listening to his albums, I laugh, I cry; these songs speak to me in a way no other artist?s work does. His Dad would indeed be proud.… Expand
KelvinApr 25, 2006A lot will be written about how bad this album is. About how Mike Skinner has lost his way. About how he has let fame go to his head. I will A lot will be written about how bad this album is. About how Mike Skinner has lost his way. About how he has let fame go to his head. I will disagree with all of it. With The Streets, Mike Skinner has always told it how it is. He's a chronicler. A modern day Shakespeare. An observer of today's society and more importantly, its youth culture. But he's no longer the poor, anoynmous, everyday geezer. He's now a very rich and very visible man. And if he had tried to write another album about how much it sucks being broke, no doubt the derision and cynicism would have been even sharper, had Mike attempted to spin such yarns with a bulging wallet sticking out of his inside coat pocket. The fact of the matter is, this album is just as observant and just as 'real' as his previous two stellar works. As NME said in their review, "it is an album about fame that people who aren't famous can relate to". How true. Because this album explores the question that we have all asked at one time or another. What would life be like if I had a lot of money, and were really quite visible? For me, what makes this album work is that there is no disconnect between Mike and myself. Never once does it come across like the musings of a pampered celebrity, who considers himself to be above my lowly station in life. He's still the geezer. That guy that you know from across the road. You know the type. The one that has all the witty anecdotes, knows a million funny stories and always has a clever scheme on the go. His personality hasn't changed. Only his day-to-day realities. The album still sports scenarios that we can all relate to. Love, loss, chat up techniques, con jobs, gambling addictions, gross materialism, binge drinking, excessive consumption of narcotics and the death of loved one's. And you smile and shake your head at the antics of this loveable scamp, because you know in your heart of hearts that if you were in the same position, you would probably do the exact same things. But it's not all doom and gloom, like most celebrity tirades tend to be. The album is very eclectic in its tone, with a good mix between the serious, the slapstick, the sombre, and all points in between. If nothing else, this album is superior to the first two, from a technical perspective. The production has been upped, and no longer sports that rough and ready DIY style that he has employed in the past. Whether you consider this to be a good or a bad thing is up to yourself. I look at it as healthy progression. He is, after all, three albums in now. In saying that, however, the beats are still made up of the familiar Streets trademarks of low, rumbling basslines, lush piano chords, hard-driving guitar riffs and trance samples. Similarly, his vocals and delivery have been ramped up to another level as well. He's now almost genuinely rapping at times, such is the newfound pace, energy and flow of his delivery. Clearly a sign of a man confident in his craft. To sum up, don't let the rushed reviews and soundbites fool you. This isn't the celebrity moan that you've been led to believe that it is. There's a good 50-50 split here between such tracks, and his more standard observational ones. On the point of the latter, look out for War Of The Sexes, Can't Con An Honest John, Never Went To Church and Two Nations. If you fear that Mike Skinner has lost touch with the people, then they should put your mind at ease. In saying that, however, this album was inevitable. Hip hop music is based primarily on the device of young, ordinary people and their lives. So when the artist becomes rich, it poses a songwriting quandry, one that is usually solved by writing about life after success. I don't think that this album should be slammed for that alone. True, it's not as good or as essential as his first two efforts, but on its own merits, it's every bit as witty, clever and ultimately, as relatable as they were. I highly recommend it. 8/10.... report this review… Expand
AViewAMOct 30, 2006When I heard "Grand" (yes, I started with the second album first) I thought I was hearing a whole new phase of hip-hop blowing out of my When I heard "Grand" (yes, I started with the second album first) I thought I was hearing a whole new phase of hip-hop blowing out of my speakers. Turns out I was partly right. Not as energetically powerful as OPM or as flowing lyrical as Grand, Hardest Way still manages to deliver the goods with even higher prod. values than before. Anyone who gives this album lower than a 6 has obviously come down with a nastly case of brain death.… Expand
JulianMApr 26, 2006Generic raps. I don't think this flies.
BoLApr 26, 2006This guy is crap. Nothing creative in his beats. Nothing creative in his flow. Just awkward talking. I am missing the beauty of this white This guy is crap. Nothing creative in his beats. Nothing creative in his flow. Just awkward talking. I am missing the beauty of this white boy. I think white folks are just looking for the next great white hope that Eminem used to be.… Expand
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