Monday, August 15, 2005

new track by the streets

I know some people find Mike Skinner's rapping irritating, particularly the extra-clear intonation and rhyme scheme observant syllable-count in every line (even if means including superfluous words to make the line scan), but it's hard to deny that he's made a style his own and, like Eminem or Snoop, you only have to read his lyrics to know intuitively exactly how he'll make them sound. I'm a big fan of that moment in The Mitchell Brothers' Harvey Nicks when Sway points out that "When I shop in Harvey Nicks / the security guards keep giving me grief / they must think I'm a thief", and here he drops into a Skinner impression, "'cuz I don't sound ... like ... The Streets".

A far cry from the technical - if not verbal - dexterity of some of his peers, then, but there's pleasure to be had in reading the lyrics to one of his new tracks, reproduced on the NME website, which finds him rapping over Bloc Party's Banquet and recalling the time he stole Jo Whiley's microphone:

"I did something bad but always vowed to my soul
That if my next record increased the amount of albums I sold,
enough for Mike not to end up back out on the dole,
I promised I'd promptly send you back what I stole."


Stephen Newton said...

I'm sorry, but this is just so wrong, wrong, wrong!

Skinner would be the very poor man's Ian Dury, if only he had something to say. He seems to do no more than set dreary conversations he's had with a his mates at bus stops to music.

jonathan said...

Yep, that's exactly what he does! Which is so much more interesting than hearing someone rapping about how rich and successful they are.

And I think Skinner's lyrics are - sometimes - interesting, because they get quite close to expressing stuff you don't hear elsewhere in pop music. There's a lovely bit in 'It was supposed to be so easy', for example, where Mike raps, increasingly frustrated:

"Where's my phone? Have I got it?, Oh this is a crock of shit!
I lost the fucking thing!"

before adding nonchalantly,

"Oh, here it is in my pocket".

That looks rubbish written down but it's great when he raps it, and it happens to me about four times a week.

I wasn't really aiming to say that Skinner is a genius in that post, just that I like the distinctive, measured style he's developed. Or nicked off Ian Dury, if you like.

Have you heard any Art Brut? I'm completely obsessed with their album, which is part Streets, part the Fall, part Television Personalities and part Ian Dury. And part Simon Munnery. It's brilliant.

Powerful Pierre said...

Art Brut + Support

Thu 22 September
Concorde 2, Brighton

Uber-cool from London's New Cross scene...rumours persist that Art Brut are working towards World Peace, so anything that goes wrong is due to a plot against the band...touring the hell out of debut album ' Bang Bang Rock and Roll'. “Raw, repetitive, rascal rock...more than just a band to make you shout and cry, Art Brut deserve our love because they're on our side.”, The Guardian

Stephen Newton said...

Listening to 'My Sherona Formed a Band' right now and think you should add Goldie Lookin' Chain to the mix. But that's almost certainly unfair as these guys are much better than that.

We'll have to agree to disagree on Skinner.

jonathan said...

Incidentally, if you've come here via google (lots of google hits from people looking for the Streets/Bloc Party thing) - it's really very disappointing, sadly. Cool your boots, just wait for 'Two More Years' on Oct 3rd. The Streets track is on the b-side.