Thursday, October 9, 2008

Album of the Week:
Everything is Borrowed / The Streets

When I reviewed the last album from The Streets, I began the review like this: "When discussing the work of Mike Skinner (aka The Streets), I like to apply a little bit of auteur theory. Auteur theory, introduced by French New Wave filmmakers in the 1950's, defines the director as 'author' of the film, while arguing that you can analyze a film in the context of the auteur's complete body of work." I still feel like this applies - in fact, Everything is Borrowed solidifies this approach even further. Skinner called his last record the "bravest of my albums," as it dealt largely with the exploits that go hand in hand with fame. Older and wiser on Everything is Borrowed, Skinner is waking up from fame's drug haze and attempting to look deeper into what life is all about. "I want to speak every cliche" he proudly states on the "loving life" opening title track, and indeed Skinner does explore a world of cliches on this album. It is his simplest record, and if it were his first, it would not receive the "groundbreaking" praise of his previous efforts.

But to judge it on those terms is to kind of miss the point. In the context of the story Skinner is telling, than this album makes perfect sense. It sounds better sitting up against the previous albums rather than being judged on its individual merit. If we are looking at individual merit, then the album does deliver three absolute gems that speak to the album's larger theme - the title track, lead single "The Escapist," and "On the Edge of a Cliff," which features a lovely lyrical passage:
I lay right there once
on the edge of the rock
I was ready to jump
I was ever so lost
but this gentlemen stopped
and said something I never forgot

For billions of years
since the outset of time
every single one of your ancestors survived
every single person on your mums and dad's side
successfully looked after and passed onto you life
what are the chances of that like
it comes to me once in a while
and everywhere i tell folk
it gets the best smile
Watch The Streets history through videos at the New and Used Records Music Video Blog.

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It is hard to look at an artist's individual work without considering what went before, particularly with a musician like The Streets, I think, where his previous albums are essentially concept albums.

I've only heard The Escapist so far, and while I didn;t think it was as string as his previous work, perhaps it just needed to grow on me a bit more.