A Grand Don't Come for Free [Explicit Lyrics]

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
Raw and ambitious, acutely conceived and pointedly delivered, A Grand Don't Come for Free proves the Streets' lauded, rap-meets-U.K. garage debut was no fluke. Streets auteur Mike Skinner displayed his wit and hard-earned wisdom on 2002's Original Pirate Material, amassing comparisons to Eminem along the way, but here he channels his late-night energies into a disc that, like Em's "Stan" stretched to long-player length, packs a plot, characters, tone, and plenty of local color: If "rock opera" sounds outdated, call it a hip-hop novella in 11 chapters. Skinner casts himself as Mike, an everyday bloke who guzzles beer and pills, bets on football, scores and loses a ...
See more details below
CD
$12.02
BN.com price
(Save 7%)$12.99 List Price
Other sellers (CD)
  • All (12) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $7.38   
  • Used (6) from $1.99   

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
Raw and ambitious, acutely conceived and pointedly delivered, A Grand Don't Come for Free proves the Streets' lauded, rap-meets-U.K. garage debut was no fluke. Streets auteur Mike Skinner displayed his wit and hard-earned wisdom on 2002's Original Pirate Material, amassing comparisons to Eminem along the way, but here he channels his late-night energies into a disc that, like Em's "Stan" stretched to long-player length, packs a plot, characters, tone, and plenty of local color: If "rock opera" sounds outdated, call it a hip-hop novella in 11 chapters. Skinner casts himself as Mike, an everyday bloke who guzzles beer and pills, bets on football, scores and loses a girlfriend, and tries to figure out just who in this sodded world he can trust after losing the titular grand hint: One is the loneliest number. Over skittering beats, the story unfurls -- love, friendship, faulty TVs and mobile phones, an ill-fated trip to Ibiza -- with plenty of musical highs, including the edgy mod sound of the single "Fit but You Know It." Skinner balances his heavily accented rhymes with raps and soulful singing from a handful of performers, and builds tension and intrigue with musical cues. On "Blinded by the Lights," which recounts an E experience at a club, bleating synths parallel his escalating paranoia. But what ties it together is the heart and soul Skinner invests in the whole, especially the love story that's the backbone of Grand. On the heartrending ballad "Dry Your Eyes," atop swooning, synthesized strings and lightly strummed guitar, Mike lays his emotions bare after his girl Simone dumps him: "I can't imagine my life without you and me / There's things I can't imagine doing, things I can't imagine seeing." He may conclude, in the eight-minute, alcohol-fueled closer, "Empty Cans," that "Everyone's a c**t in this life / No one's there for me," but after the many preceding revelations -- musical and philosophical -- it comes off as more bruised than cynical. Despite his music's humble trappings, Skinner's got a big story to tell.
All Music Guide - John Bush
Mike Skinner has a problem, and from the sound of it, it's life-threatening. He opens his second Streets full-length by moaning "It was supposed to be so easy..." as though he's about to deliver his deathbed confession, the classic tale of a crime gone wrong. Instead, three minutes later, it's clear what the "it" was: walking down to bring back a DVD rental, taking some money out of the machine, and calling his mother, who he'd just left at home, to tell her he wouldn't be back for tea. Believe it or not, but that's just another day in the life of Britain's favorite bedsit producer cum singer/songwriter. Although listeners may not wonder where he finds his material, they'll quickly realize that A Grand Don't Come for Free is just as immediately striking as Skinner's career-making full-length debut, Original Pirate Material. It succeeds, despite a clear lack of comparable singles, because of its paradoxical concept and yes, it is a concept album that a record can be tremendously ambitious even though it charts a very unambitious personality. Skinner's urban British youth persona is even more fully drawn than before, and this time he delivers a complete narrative in LP form, with characters, conflicts, themes, and post-modern resolution on the closer. He's sheepish about his utter lack of knowledge about football and the heavy gambling losses that result from it, unreservedly enthusiastic about his girlfriend early on but later totally disgusted with her in a blow-up that rivals Dizzee Rascal's "I Luv U", not so easily dismissive of a gorgeous show-off in front of him at the kebab shop, and willing to confront anyone who criticizes him for drinking at home until he can set up a row of empty Tennent's Super cans. Fortunately, he hasn't reduced the Streets to a comedy act in the process. There is as much tragedy and heartbreak here as there is slapstick comedy. "Blinded by the Lights," driven at half-speed by a shadowy trance line and Skinner's disoriented delivery, transmits perfectly the intense loneliness that can flood you in a club full of people and the utter disenchantment of being stranded in the middle of euphoria. Skinner drives these tracks with a mere skeleton of productions and delivers some cruelly off-key harmonies on the choruses; only the single, a rockabilly buster named "Fit but You Know It," makes any attempt to connect the dots from beats to melody to production. Confronting doubts about his seriousness and squashing whispers about his talent, Skinner has made a sophomore record that expands on what distinguishes the Streets from any other act in music.
New York Times - Kelefa Sanneh
Mr. Skinner is a mesmerizing storyteller with a knack for finding precise ways to evoke the fuzziness of a wasted day.
Rolling Stone - Pat Blashill
Grand is cool because it's thoroughly mundane... yet Skinner's ear for language and detail keeps it vivid, and hilarious.
Blender - Dorian Lynskey
The exact opposite of background music, A Grand Don't Come for Free demands the same attention as a movie.

Mr. Skinner is a mesmerizing storyteller with a knack for finding precise ways to evoke the fuzziness of a wasted day.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/18/2004
  • Label: Vice Records
  • UPC: 825646153428
  • Catalog Number: 61534
  • Sales rank: 170,131

Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Streets Primary Artist
Johnny Jenkins Vocals, Background Vocals
Lorraine McIntosh Background Vocals
William Nichols Vocals
Tony Walters Background Vocals
Morgan Nicholls Bass, Piano
Wayne G Vocals
Mike Skinner Vocals
Gita Langley Violin
Sam Blewitt Background Vocals
C-Mone Vocals, Background Vocals
Teddy Mitchell Vocals, Background Vocals
Morgan Nicholls Piano
Jacqueline Rawe Background Vocals
Leo Ihenacho Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Morgan Nicholls Engineer, Vocal Engineer
Mike Skinner Composer, Producer, Audio Production
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Must Have

    A Grand Don't Come For Free is a must have for any serious music listener's collection. Mike Skinner, the lead singer, brings all he has to the table in his newest release since Original Pirate Material. He creates a unique sound all his own in this English masterpiece. The lyrics on this album make all the songs come alive. The music itself is mundane and repetitive, but the lyrics make it great. Skinner captures the humor and relevance in every song that adds a special taste to each individual track. His remarks about everyday life and the ultimate nothingness in a day's work are insightful and humorous in the same respect. Skinner's glorification of a bad day will bring a smile to every listeners face, guaranteed. His misshaped encounters with ex-girlfriends and cable television workers will be sure to bring a chuckle to the least cheerful of us listeners. But at the end of the day, he just brushes all of these mishaps and misfortunes off, showing us life is more than some little argument or skirmish. Life is one of forgiveness and moving on. And who could deny any sarcastic Englishman about the apparent dreariness and meaninglessness of life? You should have heard some of the tales my English grandfather would tell me. What Skinner brings to the table is something to treasure and something to behold. A Grand Don't Come For Free goes beyond the average album. It has meaning. It discards the catchy beat and incoherent lyrics of popular music with a deep meaning and not so memorable background music. But isn't that what music is supposed to do; to inspire; to foster independence. If this is indeed what music is, Mike Skinner created an excellent album. This is why I strongly urge any real music listener to add A Grand Don't Come For Free to his or her music collection.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews