THE STREETS The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living (2006 UK 11-track CD album - Mike Skinner 3rd studio album sees him continue to astound with his social observations and sharp lyrical wit including the single When You Wasnt Famous picture booklet inlay)
When hedonism tips into overindulgence, when the champagne fizz of pop stardom goes stale, thats where youll find The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living
--the third album from Mike Skinners The Streets. We fall in at the deep end with "Pranging Out", the sound of a spiky Mike "fresh" off tour and trying to booze his way out of a five-month hangover, contemplating that "the rocknroll cliché just walked in and smacked me".
As ever, though, the music here is thoroughly individual and frequently hilarious: the Mission Impossible-tinged "Hotel Expressionism" sees trashing a room raised to the status of artform, while the reflective "Two Nations"--an open letter to deceased rapper Notorious BIG--sees Skinner swell with pride as he recalls the UK giving America the legacy of John Lennon, "Even though you shot him as well". Meanwhile, two gospel tracks, "Never Went To Church" and "All Goes Out The Window", make a bid to be this albums "Dry Your Eyes".
All in all, its Skinners most bitty, fractured album so far--not quite the gobsmacking state-of-the-nation address of 2002s Original Pirate Material and lacking the immersive narrative of A Grand Dont Come For Free--but no one makes a record like Mike Skinner makes a record, and even going out of his head, hes never less than entertaining.--Louis Pattison