Friday, July 16, 2004

I declined to recommend the Streets' show in Chicago a few weeks ago because, as much as I like Original Pirate Material, I wasn't impressed by main Street Mike Skinner as a live performer. It wasn't for the reasons described in my previous entry, the problem of the producer being more talented than the artist. It was because of diluted entertainment. Skinner spent too much time giving shout-outs to Chicago and generally pandering to the audience and not enough time actually playing his songs.

But there's no such problem with Skinner's sophomore effort A Grand Don't Come For Free. Like its predecessor, the production values are still rinky-dink, but they befit the mundane existence that the album chronicles. Grand is more ambition than Original Pirate Material even if its narrator isn't. It's a song cycle about a day in a life, a day where everything goes wrong, from the TV breaking to £1000 disappearing from his home. The lyrics are precise and humorous, the best on "Fit But You Know It," similar in theme to Mudhoney's "You Got It" but with the added bonus of the singer losing his place in line at the chip shop after being distracted by the ego-inflated hottie. Skinner's simultaneous pick-up/put-down:
See I reckon you're about an 8 or a 9
Maybe even 9 and a half in four beers time

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