Mike Skinner has now officially retired The Streets ‚Äì ending the cycle of a dynamic 10 years for the 31 year old, edging on his 32nd birthday. With his simplistic, self produced tunes it’s fair to say he’s been the pioneer behind a movement now available through the advances of technology. With the level of bedroom based artists at an all time high, he spent his time revolutionising the stale and outdated ideology that the music industry seemed to set itself.

For those who are long time fans of Mike, this record is a complete blend of everything he’s done previous, encompassing the sounds of a decade of reform. Never one to take sides, the record never once mentions anything of our society, which is strange at a time of such change with the coalition, especially for someone who seems to have such an outright opinion on everything. Instead though, it talks of how things have changed since the days of ‚ÄòOriginal Pirate Material’ as well as Mike’s own comment on his growth as a person as well as an artist. This record is not one for the outsider, or new-coming Streets fan I feel. Even myself, a dedicated listener of The Streets for the last four records found it at first a tasking listen. Lead single ‚ÄòGoing Through Hell’ is certainly way off Mike’s best as a producer. Gone are the days of the simple MC and beat combination like that of ‚ÄòAll Got Our Runnins’, and although this does seem a shame it’s been replaced with a deeper message, that than can be first examined through a simple background listen. Tracks such as ‚ÄòWithout Thinking,’ ‚ÄòTrust Me’ and ‚ÄòOMG’ will be one to excite the live crowds and come as a welcome opening in a record laden with hidden meanings.

Once described by a US reviewer as having “words jammed into measures like an overstuffed couch,” The Streets have always been essentially British. Never once in 10 years of working as a major artist did Mike ever invade American territory with the intention of making his success there, but never did his fame peak higher than his second record with its emotional stringing ballad ‚ÄòDry Your Eye’s’. It’s quite comforting to know that you can enjoy The Streets music, which has become strangely commercially viable without the worry of being shamed upon by folk regarding it as not being proper, but still with chartered success.

The new album is just what you’d expect from Mike, a sort of best of ‚Äì with new tracks. Pushing boundaries and ridden of any of the bullshit of common life. It’s simple, easy, and just a fine way to go out. Although not The Streets at their best, it is worth a listen, even if you’re not a fan, just for an insight into the career of a man that brought about a revolution of modern music. Would popular music be the same way it is nowadays without him? Well, that’s a difficult one to answer, but look at it how you like, The Streets, came, left their message and departed. And forever, we will be thankful to dear Mike.

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