EW’s 25 Best Music Albums in 25 Years

“To understand The streets, think first of young Briton Mike Skinner – aka the one and only member of the band – as the quintessential singer-songwriter, the kind that stands alone and makes music on its own. Now imagine him creating this music on a computer and mixing garage, reggae and British soundtrack scores. Then add a coarse punk-derived accent; a riveting delivery that sits somewhere between hip-hop rhyme and BBC editorialism; and an indolent attitude symbolic of a generation that grew up on rap, PCs, video games and various illicit substances. Add it up, and you have a fascinating, do-it-yourself missive from the frontlines of youth culture, an album that grabs you by the backhands and never loosens its grip. Snapping photos of his native government and culture, obnoxious ad bots, and occasionally of himself, Skinner is perplexing, disrespectful, funny, touching, and very human. In spirit and in voice, if not in sound, Original pirate material is a punk album, but with one crucial difference. Even though Skinner tries to act like he doesn’t care, he really doesn’t care – about the music, the life, the heroin habits of his friends and, to paraphrase one of his songs, to get things done.” –David Browne