The Streets – Original Pirate Material

Today we end the long and winding road of season 2 – with surprise, an album from the UK.  This one goes back to 2002 and happens to be a debut album to boot.

The Streets – Original Pirate Material

Listen here:!/playlist/The+Streets+Original+Pirate+Material/70062111

Read about it here:

One year ago: We came off a break to listen to KRS One’s Infotainment.

Fun Facts:   The cover artwork photograph of Original Pirate Material is by German photographer Rut Blees Luxemburg called Towering Inferno. The towerblock pictured is the south face of Kestrel House on City Road, London.


The Streets – Original Pirate Material

Preconceptions: A curiosity pick of mine, I expect I’ll like it do to my unchecked Anglophilia and preference toward literate hip-hop.

After Listening: Well, it’s as English as old broads on red canal boats but it’s not as interesting as I had expected.

Faves: Sharp Darts, Geezers Need Excitement
Least: Stay Positive

Overall: This covers the same UK clublife ground as the Arctic Monkeys album we just heard, yet less catchy and with more heavy-handed “legalize it” messages. Mr. Streets has an interesting, at times arrhythmic delivery but it is paired with less interesting electronic style I am going to call “thumb and bass”. I understand his follow-up album is a concept album of street hustling and shady geezers. I hope the music is as Guy Ritchie as the subject.

Rating: 2.9
Prelisten guess: 4.0


The Streets – Original Pirate Material
I have no idea what to expect from this, but I like pirates and I enjoy streets so I’m optimistic!

I’m in a great mood! I’m writing this early because I will be on vacation when it’s assigned.

After Listening:
With the first song, I assumed that I would enjoy the album, but the next few songs sound incredibly sloppy. The hook/chorus in the songs seem to be the most produced chunk of the song.
His rhythmic set up of the lyrics is captivating, but if there is a large amount of electronica covering it up it’s rough to listen to. I think that this album would have rated higher for me had there been a capable DJ working the background.

Favorite track/tracks:
Sharp Darts – The lack of background for the majority of this was one of the artist’s best choices.
Don’t Mug Yourself – This song made me laugh my ass off and dance at the same time.
The Irony Of It All – This was a brilliant idea.

Least favorite track/tracks:
Has It Come To This?* – I couldn’t pay attention to the lyrics because the loop was disgusting. I don’t mind the piano to be completely honest, even though it was a recording of someone just learning something with a hesitancy. The horrible drum beat that didn’t make sense and the repetitive “oh-oh-oh” basically sounded like this entire song could be crafted on a Casio.
Too Much Brandy – It felt like I was drunk to the point of blistering blackout just listening to this song.

Overall (1-5 stars):  1


The Streets – Original Pirate Material: 4 stars

Precon: Know it, fan of the Streets. This might be all around their best album.

Favorite Track: Turn the Page
Least Favorite: Has It Come to This or Geezers Need Excitement due to bad choruses

And right out of the gate, Turn the Page, consisting of one protracted downhill verse, is the best Mike Skinner has ever been lyrically. “You can’t do half, my crew laughs at your rhubarb and custard verses. You rain down curses, but I’m waving, your hearse is driving by.” Maybe a bit of first album (or book or movie) syndrome where it contains things that you’ll never be able to equal because you’ve been working on them your whole life up to that point.
There’s at least 20% too much chorus on this album.
I like when he blurts out “geezers, geezers, geezers” on “Who Got the Funk?.” It’s like a moment of Brit-slang Tourette’s.
Mike Skinner isn’t a particularly good rapper. In fact, he’s not particularly a rapper at all, with much of his vocal contributions coming in the form of conversational spoken word or weird singing that seems like it was supposed to be a place holder to be supplanted once he could get a professional singer in the studio. Yet he manages to create tracks where all of this works. I don’t think it’s going too far to say that he’s a visionary, and he’s been able to execute his vision over the course of songs, albums, even the entire career of The Streets.

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Record Club began in the cold, dank, snowmageddon scene that was New England of January 2011. We’re probably no different than you. We all work in cubicles, some in smaller, less private cubicles than others; that just means we have to be even sneakier about how we listen to our music. But we have to listen to our music, mostly as a way of saving our own personal sanity. Sometimes our opinions lead us to debates that may or may not be published in their entirety on this site, but I can promise you’ll at least get a glimpse of the way our minds work. The main goal is to find new music we like or find old music that we didn’t know we liked. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes it’s a total and complete disaster. After our ears have rejoiced or stopped bleeding we try something else. This is our pattern, every Tuesday and Thursday. Sometimes, when the club isn’t officially in session, just to keep everyone on their toes, we throw in a theme day. We’re beginning to run low on our original list, so please, if you have albums that you’d like us to review or themes that you’d like to see our playlist of, feel free to contribute. After all, we’re all in this together once we punch the time clock. So if you’re busy (or just plain bored) lurking in your cubicle as you read this join in. After all, life wasn’t meant to be lived staring at a computer screen. I guarantee you, it’s at least more fun when you plug the headphones in.

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