As initial reviews of the new album by The Streets, The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living, suggest that he may have lost his way somewhat, it’s a good time to think back to when his music was fresh and obviously in touch with it’s audience.
The debut album by The Streets, Original Pirate Material, was a fantastic look at what it meant to be young and British in the early years of the 21st Century. Detailing the characters who make up modern Britain it covers everything from post-pub fights, to cannabis enduced paranoia. For me the stand-out track was Weak Become Heroes, a love song to early 90s clubbing and the dance music that inspired it: for Mike Skinner (who basically is The Streets) the thousands of young Britons who took to the fields and warehouses to dance the night away were the stars.
I can’t remember where I first heard the Ashley Beedle remix of Weak Become Heroes, but it built on the greatness of the original song. The album version was built around a very simple piano loop. Ashley Beedle, of The Ballistic Brothers & X-Press 2 fame, turns into the kind of four-to-the-floor house anthem that used to play at the kind of nights Skinner is describing.
As he intones:
“The night slowly fades and goes slow motion
All the comotion becomes flowing emotions
Same piano loops over arms wave, eyes roll back and eyes fall open”
Beedle brings in an Italian-style piano loop, of the sort familiar to anyone who liked house in the early 90s that almost makes you feel like waving your arms, rolling your eyes – you get the picture.
As all this goes on, Mike Skinner leaps forward 5 years to an unspecified time when the raves have stopped and there is nothing left for him in the drab place that is late 90s Britain. Truly a great song and an even better remix. Check out The Streets – Weak Becomes Heroes (Ashley Beedle remix) here or buy it on iTunes. To get the full feeling, you should probably try to get it on 12″ vinyl. I did.
The video for the original version of Weak Become Heroes by The Streets is at the bottom, whilst you can listen to the Ashley Beedle remix here or in the first video: