The Streets

Everything Is Borrowed (Vice)

Those Brits love their scoundrels. England's pop-music culture is rife with quasi-celebrities—see Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse—who are better known for their chemical ingestion and star-fucking than for their music. Mike Skinner, also known as The Streets, fits this template perfectly. A cad for all seasons, Skinner is more adept at providing good copy for the tabloids than he is at crafting tunes.

Lumped in with the grime contingent, what sets other grime artists apart from Skinner is talent. Most grime stars—Wiley, Kano, Tinchy Stryder—have real rhyming skills; Skinner just talks over beats, rarely falling into any kind of groove. Why bother with music when you've already so completely mastered the art of being a loveable rogue?

What we have here is essentially a rehash of the first three Streets albums. Worse yet, Skinner seems to have mellowed a bit, and his commentary isn't nearly as biting as on previous releases. As a monologist, Skinner is still at times provocative—even funny. Perhaps a career in stand-up comedy would have been a better choice.