60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #49


Original Pirate Material – The Streets (2002)

I’ve always been someone who has placed more emphasis than is really necessary on the importance of a good lyric.  Maybe that’s why, despite really having no connection with garage music, that I fell so heavily for the debut album by The Streets.

I was stupidly busy at work in the early years of the noughties and there wasn’t much time to devote to reading about or discovering new music.  Anything I was picking up, mostly from the times I was using lunch breaks to browse around record shops, or catching up with videos on MTV2, tended to be guitar-orientated.  The likes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Doves, Interpol, The Libertines and The White Stripes all released records that I bought, listened to intently and enjoyed.  Spoiler Alert – none of them have made this rundown, although some were on the longlist.

It was my dear friend Jacques the Kipper who put me onto The Streets.  One day we met up at the football, and he handed me a new compilation CD that he’d burned. More than any other, it was this that stood out:-

mp3: The Streets – Let’s Push Things Forward

A tune that, with its use of old-fashioned organ and trombone, harked back to the ska era, but with a vocal delivery that was modern and edgy.  The sort of thing that if I’d been twenty years younger, I’d have tried to learn by heart to sing along to.

I told Jacques how much I’d enjoyed it, and he replied that there were plenty other great tunes on the album. I took his advice and bought it.  I’d be a liar if I said I got all the references in the songs, both in terms of youth culture and the fact it often reflected life in a city that I lived many hundreds of miles from.  I never thought it to be a perfect album, as some of the lyrics cross into sexism/misogyny, but I’ve always put this down to the competing vocalists/lyricists involved on some of the songs – Mike Skinner certainly seemed to try and rise above such things.

It was a close call on whether the debut or the follow-up A Grand Don’t Come For Free (2004) would make the longlist for this rundown.  In the end, it came down to me thinking that Let’s Push Things Forward is their best song.  I reckon if I had leaned the other way, the second Streets album would also have made the Top 60.


4 thoughts on “60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #49

  1. I loved this album!
    Thank you for reminder. It started me down a bit of a rabbit hole and I saw Mike and Fred again.. playing together! What an amazing way to start me day!
    I hope this is the vibe of the summer!

  2. Absolute watershed of an album. I wrote a piece about it years ago for another website. Really blew my hair back at the time. Still sounds like now all these years later

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