And so it arrives - the final album from The Streets is finally upon us. "Computers and Blues" is the fifth studio album and seeks to round off an incredibly successful and beloved tenure.
Mike Skinner has been clogging up blog land the past few months as he has patiently awaited a release date for the album. "Computers and Blues" was apparently completed months ago but was not scheduled for release until this week. The album is pretty similar in set up to the previous efforts; Mike still handles the production and lyrics with a little help from some wonderfully sourced samples and up and coming artists for hooks and other bits and bobs.
One of the first striking things about the album is the quality of mixing. "Computers and Blues" is not a willy nilly amalgamation of songs from here and there, it is as well thought out as the video blogs would suggest.
The album is as much as you have come to expect from The Streets. The first single - "Going Through Hell" is a calling to arms for fans which has been well received as the first act of the final play. "Puzzled by People" is perhaps as close to the archetypal Streets song as you can get with a strong beat, excellent lyrics and simple (but beautiful) imagery. "Blip on a Screen" is delightfully affectionate in the very same way that made "Dry your Eyes" and "Never Went To Church" such beloved tracks to fans.
"Soldiers" and "Trying to Kill ME" are other strong mentions for the album which maintain the same old Streets, but perhaps more mature and refined. In "Soldiers", Skinner raps "There will never be a sequel to this evening"... An upsetting truth. If it hadn't hit home that this is all over, "Lock the Locks" certainly hammers it home.
"Computers and Blues" is a tremendous way to end such an important chapter in UK hip hop. It will unlikely be cited in the future as 'the' Streets album (which is understandable with the prior albums) but is an apt curtain call. Whatever the future holds for Skinner his place in hip hop... No, no... Music full-stop is firmly secure. Thanks for the memories Mike...
"Once bitten, forever smitten"
8 out of 10