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10. The Streets – Has It Come To This?

14/12/2009

“Sex, drugs, and on the dole” – it doesn’t get much less glamorous than that. But the gritty verité of Has It Come To This is also its charm: amid the bling and braggadocio that accompanied the early-noughties’ two-step and garage heyday, surrounded by the promo videos full of tacky jewellery and champagne, this record reflected how 99% of that scene’s fans actually encountered the music: in hotboxed bedrooms on Saturday nights, or cheap, grimy suburban house parties. The references here are of normal things and places – PlayStations, Vauxhall Novas, Mile End, Bounds Green – the lifestyle of Skinner’s narrator is simple and transparent. A kitchen-sink vignette of simple approachability, Has It Comes To This is brilliant because of its modesty and honesty, its story-teller’s eye for detail and its wry humour. Its sense of inclusivity – “whether you’re white or black, smoke weed, chase brown or toot rock” – lends it a warmth and community that few tracks even aspire to. And, as a debut single, too, that sense of togetherness – less a “come with me”, more a “come with us” – is quite beautiful: no other artist of the last ten years has implored the listener to “make yourself at home” with such nonchalant but sincere invitation.

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