Artist: The Streets
Album: None Of Us Are Making It Out Of This Life Alive
Label: Island Records
Rating : 8/10
Words: Gugulethu Khumalo
Mike Skinner has now returned after nearly a decade away and this is the perfect mixtape to listen to in quarantine, this album elevates and challenges the current norm and sound around rap music. The title of this album really encapsulates the mood around 2020, the album shares the apocalyptic and dystopian views of the world reflecting on the crisis of the world while still staying drawn in on the personal crisis people might be facing, in such a time of forced self introspection during isolation.
Like some of his previous work Skinner does draw inspiration from dubstep and house music, yet in this album he has integrated them more seamlessly into these tracks
Although it’s classified as a rap album this album is definitely oceans away from the classic and familiar sounds of American rap, yet it isn’t any closer to the locale sounds of the new grime sound. Yet this album manages to position itself as a quintessentially british rap album complete with electro and house influences that gained popularity in the early 2000’s. The album is on the longer side complete with 12 tracks. Much of this album is related to technology, isolation,the plight of humankind and the complexities of human relationships and connections. Like some of his previous work Skinner does draw inspiration from dubstep and house music, yet in this album he has integrated them more seamlessly into these tracks.
“Take Me As I Am” has the snare sounds borrowing from dubstep, it has a constant rhythm and is a club banger. “I wish you loved you as much as you love him” feat Green Tea Peng reminiscent of the early days of house and step music.The track, “Call My Phone” featuring Tame Impala complete with visuals, has highlighted the new normal around living life in a pandemic, and the role of technology in the fracturing of human relationship, this sentiment is extended in the song “Phone Is Always In My Hand” featuring Dapz On The Mind.
Overall, Skinner has made an array of statements around the state of our world and the foundation on which a lot of our relationships are built
The title track “None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive” features a heavy use of midi power and the classic electronic sound popular in the early 2000’s in under 4 minutes skinner breaks down his views on everything from party culture to politics. A very loud and demanding bass line and monotonous vocals, determined to show the Skinners misery in this life. Tracks like “The Poison I Take Hoping You Will Suffer, Same Direction” and “Eskimo Ice”, very dark EDM and dubstep inspired sound, Kasien and Oscar #Worldpeace’s voices offer contrast against Skinner’s bringinging in the more popular voice of british rap.
“The Conspiracy Freestyle And I Know Something You Did” beat follows the more conventional pattern of music and use of beats that is popular among Skinner’s contemporaries, yet the vocal features and lyrical style are still distinctly Skinner’s.“Falling Down” strays from the established sound and mood of the album, the use of a soft keyboard and drum pad machine goes a whole different direction. While “You Can’t Afford Me,” bridged together hard core rap, alternative and has a slight tinge of a EDM influence with its repeated bass line of synthetic strings in the background, this song is the closest thing to flexing.
Overall, Skinner has made an array of statements around the state of our world and the foundation on which a lot of our relationships are built, while this is an impactful return to the music space for Skinner, making statements about today’s problems using some of yesterday’s most iconic samples and sounds.
None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive is out now via Island Records