The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living

Studio Album by released in 2006
The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living's tracklist:
Prangin' Out
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War of the Sexes
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The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living
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All Goes Out the Window
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Memento Mori
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Can't Con an Honest John
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When You Wasn't Famous
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Never Went to Church
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Hotel Expressionism
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Two Nations
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Fake Streets Hats
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The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living review

One of the year’s hottest and most greatly anticipated albums

Mike Skinner's recordings as the Streets marked the first attempt at adding a degree of social commentary to Britain's party-hearty garage/2-step movement. The Streets' third album, The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living, sees him switching up his rapping, twisting out the production and laying open some heartfelt lyrics across its eleven tracks. Skinner spent the summer recording his third album at home and then he went to New York in October to finish the tracks. He worked with an engineer who would email over the sounds Skinner requested and The Streets frontman would put the pieces of the record together. The trick with this album is, despite a similar musical and lyrical formula used in his 2004 blockbuster, A Grand Don’t Come For Free, Skinner still manages to not only hone the work and fine tune it, but take a subject normally completely unlistenable (celebrity self-pity) and make it utterly charming and disarming. Once again Skinner shows himself to be one of the UK’s most vital artists and continues to astound with his social observations and sharp lyrical wit. This is one of the year’s hottest and most greatly anticipated albums and looks certain to cement Mike Skinners place as one of the UK’s biggest stars.

Skinner puts his usual witty and sly spin on the dark side of fame

The age-old question: is being famous SO hard? Clearly, for Mike Skinner, it’s bloody rough, but it’s great album material. Frankly, it’s all got to be true, because you couldn’t make up fiction this interesting. The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living is an unapologetic 37-minute trip through the trials and tribulations of celebrity. The focus of Skinne's lyrics and storytelling has shifted away from descriptions of everyday circumstances and occurrences, and instead describes the changes that fame has granted (and sometimes imposed) on Skinner's life. First single When You Wasn't Famous is about how he tries and fails to impress a female TV personality who ends up in tabloids. The single has a stomping house beat and a fantastic hook. Also, cocaine is a main theme on the album, as it relates to Skinner's own experiences with the drug. Songs like opener Prangin' Out and Hotel Expressionism take the subject drastically. Skinne puts his usual witty and sly spin on the dark side of fame. Only with this much honesty and self-effaced humor could a listener take this cliched, never-ending whining by stars around the world in any way serious. But the real heart and soul of the record, though, is Never Went to Church, a touching piano ballad directly addressing Skinner's deceased father and our failings of faith. Why is it that we only find our faith when things go completely to hell, asks Skinne throughout.

The Streets speaks directly from his personal experiences and observations

When you have an artist as internationally acclaimed as the Streets, one might wonder what it takes to maintain his artistic edge. With a two-year gap separating the release of The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living it is clear that the key to the Streets continued success, development as an artist, and overall innovation in the Grime genre is directly connected to his personal experiences. While he is not one to bite his tongue, The Streets also isn’t an artist who inserts controversial material for shock value, but instead, he speaks directly from his personal experiences and observations. Rarely has an artist been able to speak so candidly about drug use, sex, and the pressures of constantly being under the public eye without seeming artificially boastful. The Streets is able to express remorse and rejoice without missing a beat or sounding insincere. The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living builds on the concept behind A Grand Don’t Come For Free by going deeper and arguably darker while maintaining an often-light production varying in tempo. The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living may appear daring to listeners because of his bold honesty, but this is just Mike being Mike, and thankfully this is exactly what music needed.