The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living

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The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living
Studio album by The Streets
Released 10 April 2006
Recorded October–November 2005
Genre Alternative hip hop, electronica
Length 37:18
Label Locked On 0927435682
Producer Mike Skinner
The Streets chronology
A Grand Don't Come for Free
(2004)
The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living
(2006)
Everything Is Borrowed
(2008)

The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living is the third album by The Streets, released on 10 April 2006 in the United Kingdom and 25 April 2006 in North America. It is also the shortest The Streets album released so far, with a running time of just 37 minutes and 12 seconds. The Mitchell Brothers and Ted Mayhem, two of Skinner's protégés, make guest appearances on the album.

The final track, "Fake Streets Hats", is about an incident that happened during the 2004 edition of the Dutch Lowlands Music Festival, where a drunk Mike Skinner openly protested against the handing out of white hats with "The Streets" written on them, because he thought they were fake, and thus illegal merchandise. The hats actually were a gift from his label, Locked On.[1] Mike Skinner also sees the song as a personal reflection on plagiarism in general.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (72/100) [2]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [3]
Robert Christgau (A) [4]
Entertainment Weekly (A−) [5]
The A.V. Club (B−) [6]
Q 2/5 stars [7]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars [8]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars [9]
NME (8/10)[10]
Under the Radar (9/10)[11]
Uncut 4/5 stars[12]
musicOMH 4/5 stars[13]
The Observer 4/5 stars[14]
PopMatters 7/10 stars[15]
Spin 8/10 stars[16]

Critical response for the album was generally positive, scoring 72/100 on Metacritic. However, this score is lower than his previous two albums, scoring 90/100 and 91/100 respectively. In a mixed review, Prefix Magazine said "With about half the tracks on this record falling short, Skinner would seem to be teetering on the edge of irrelevance. But even the failed tracks here sound interesting, and if he's lost his way somewhat thematically, it's all in the name of searching for his new voice." In a much more positive review, The Village Voice Consumer Guide said "His comic timing and mixture of slangs--not to mention his musical conception... are all so much more fully developed that he's actually made a record that's fun to play in the background." Spin named Skinner "the perfect poet for this snooze of a topic." In a negative review, Stylus Magazine described the album as "an exercise in empty nothingness. But it’s not Bacchanalian coked-out excess nothingness, it's the joyless hollow-eyed actions of a man who is waiting for the next fix and doesn't care what bullshit has to come out of his lips in order to get paid."

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Prangin' Out" – 3:49
  2. "War of the Sexes" – 3:26
  3. "The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living" – 3:13
  4. "All Goes Out the Window" – 3:32
  5. "Memento Mori" – 2:36
  6. "Can't Con an Honest John" – 3:40
  7. "When You Wasn't Famous" – 3:18
  8. "Never Went to Church" – 3:32
  9. "Hotel Expressionism" – 3:33
  10. "Two Nations" – 3:05
  11. "Fake Streets Hats" – 3:12

References[edit]

Preceded by
Ringleader of the Tormentors by Morrissey
UK number one album
16 April 2006 – 22 April 2006
Succeeded by
Shayne Ward by Shayne Ward