Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Streets: The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living [Vice/Atlantic, 2006]
The real reason it's OK for Mike Skinner to rap about celebrity instead of blokedom is that his skills have leapt a quantum. His comic timing and mixture of slangs--not to mention his musical conception (chorus-sung choruses, a great way for a bloke to blow his recoupables)--are all so much more fully developed that he's actually made a record that's fun to play in the background. You'll sing along to the hooks, and every time you home in on a couple of lines they'll make you smile--except on the farewell to his dad, which you can bet cogitates harder than the one about international relations. A