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Computers and Blues

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According to Mike Skinner, Computers and Blues is his last release under the moniker The Streets. His fifth album plays with nary the new age philosophies of 2008’s Everything Is Borrowed nor the celebrity-life gripes on 2006’s The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living. But for a guy who claims to be over it, this is quite a lively album. “Outside Inside” opens with distorted vocals before buoyant beats pull humble confessions from Skinner, phrased with a lackadaisical lock on the rhythm (not too unlike Aesop Rock). The album’s lead single, “Going Through Hell,” features Rob Harvey of the Britpop band The Music providing vocal melody, but what stands out is the wonky six-string distortion compressed and treated to sound as if Skinner imported videogame approximations of guitars. Other standouts include musing on his son’s sonogram in “Blip on a Screen” and the dusty disco of “Those That Don’t Know.” He likens The Streets to an office job on the closing “Lock the Locks,” where he says, “I’m packing up my desk/Put it into boxes/Knock out the lights/Lock the locks and leave.”


Formed: 27 November 1978 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Mike Skinner's recordings as the Streets marked the first attempt to add a degree of social commentary to Britain's party-hearty garage/2-step (and later grime) movement. Skinner, a Birmingham native who later ventured to the capital, was an outsider in the garage scene, though his initial recordings appeared on Locked On, the premiere source for speed garage and, later, 2-step from 1998 to the end of the millennium. He spent time growing up in North London as well as Birmingham, and listened first...
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Computers and Blues, The Streets
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