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The concealed rage of "Such a twat" and "What is he thinking" holds such incredible energy it sends shivers down the spine. But that is nothing compared to the devastating final two tracks. For 13 minutes Mike Skinner takes hold of you and drags you through every emotional rollercoaster you have ever been on. "Dry Your Eyes" is simply breathtaking - his honesty is frightening, and I defy anybody to listen to this without a lump in the throat. And then "Empty Cans" fires home his final denoument, cleverly told from two different perspectives that brings the story round full circle. And suddenly the slow build up of the first half of the album makes perfect sense. And you're left completely drained from it.
So it's no "OPM". Indeed, it feels more like the second act of a three part play. If only Mike Skinner could focus his massive talent on refining what he does on the last third of the album into 50 minutes he would deliver one of the greatest albums this country has ever produced, period. The question is, does he have the guts to do it ?
The Streets could have easily made money producing an album which was a copy of their first, instead they have produced a concpet album that is hugely rewarding.
The album plays out as a story and this focus and theme gives every song a relevance few albums can match. The album moves from attraction to pain and from party highs to depressing lows, yet all through keeps away from the cliched and cheesy.
Whilst this album must be looked at as a whole this does not mean there are not stand out songs, 'Blinded By The Lights', 'Fit But You Know It' and 'Dry Your Eyes' are tracks that engage and connect instantly with the listener.
Many people claim that there are not enough 'classics' on this album, but they miss the point. In a world where producing and marketing a single to be number 1 for one week is the measure of success, The Streets have produced an album where the sum of its parts create a classic and an pivotable album in British Urban music