Despite the fact that Computers and Blues will be Mike Skinner’s final album using the moniker ‘The Streets’, his creativity shows no signs of slowing down. Claiming that he already felt that this album was behind him due to the lengthy process of promoting and distributing a record, he has been a busy man. Accompanying this album, Streets fans can enjoy an interactive film he made, a new mixtape and Skinner’s own remixes of this album.
Musically, this sees a return to the style of his first three albums, contrasting the almost spiritual style of 2008’s Everything Is Borrowed. It is interesting to note how Skinner’s perspective has shifted over time. Original Pirate Material and A Grand Don’t Come For Free were hailed as the voice of the working class youth, focussing on drinking and girls, alongside insightful social commentary. However, as Skinner has become more successful and rich, he has not attempted to continue in this vein, but accepted his position and does not seem any less of an artist for it. His perspective on this record is occasionally anthropological, but remains human itself.
Computers and Blues does seem to have the air of a final album about it, but it seems celebratory as opposed to funereal. Final track ‘Lock The Locks’ likens his ending of The Streets to someone leaving an office job, with references to leaving cards and stealing stationary; It seems tongue in cheek and suggesting that after this, we will see Mike Skinner in another guise.
This album includes a courageous attempt to romanticise Facebook on the poorly-named ‘OMG’. Despite Skinner’s characteristically witty and intelligent lyrics, Facebook remains unromantic until we live in a dystopian future where it is the only way human beings communicate with each other. However, there is plenty on this album to counterbalance this blip, such as first single ‘Going Through Hell’. He manages to be funny, but not so funny that it detracts from the musicality of the record.
As illustrated brilliantly on ‘Without A Blink’, Computers and Blues evokes a sense of urgency, the idea that one must not just go through the motions, but push things forward. He explains beautifully why The Streets must end now, but that this is in no way a bad thing. It is clear that Mike Skinner will be back with something exciting at some point in the near future.
8 out of 10