- The Streets (Producer): Johnny Jenkins (vocals, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, drums, percussion); Laura Vane (vocals, background vocals); Adam Love, Richard Wayler (vocals); Mike Skinner (guitar, harmonica, concertina, keyboards, xylophone, drums, sleigh bell); Nick Marshall (guitar); Bob Dowell (piano); Chris Brown (organ, keyboards).
- Personnel: Adam Love (vocals, background vocals); Nick Shirm, Wayne Hart Singers (vocals); Chris Williams (whistling, flute); Johnny Jenkins (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, recorder, piano, glockenspiel, xylophone, bass guitar, drums, triangle, percussion); Nick Marshall (guitar, acoustic guitar, double bass); Wayne Bennett (electric guitar); Chris Brown (accordion, Fender Rhodes piano, organ, Wurlitzer organ, keyboards); Eddie Jenkins (piano, Fender Rhodes piano).
- Additional personnel: Kevin Mark Trail (vocals, background vocals); The Wayne Hart Singers (vocals); Teddy Mitchell (whistling, background vocals); Wayne Bennett (electric guitar); Ed Harcourt (banjo, mandolin); Camilla Pay (harp); Gita Harcourt (violin); Amy Stanford (viola); Amy Langley (cello); Maria Payne (clarinet); Jake Painter (trumpet); Barnet PILLharmonic Choir (background vocals); Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Audio Mixers: Mike Millrain; Mike Skinner .
- After delving into the bitter depths of celebrity cynicism on his third album (2006's THE HARDEST WAY TO MAKE AN EASY LIVING), Mike Skinner aka the Streets takes a positive turn on his follow-up, EVERYTHING IS BORROWED. Exploring a range of weighty topical issues, Skinner takes on the voice of a peace-loving optimist as he speaks on life and death, romance, environmental peril, and religious beliefs. The album opener and title track has Skinner musing on this life with anti-consumerist common sense: "I came to this world with nothing and I leave with nothing but love. Everything else is just borrowed." From there, Skinner subtly blasts religious fanaticism on "Alleged Legends" and praises the patience of his significant other over the minimalist piano line of "The Strongest Person I Know." Still, EVERYTHING IS BORROWED has space for more playful moments--"Sherry End" celebrates intimate talk between mates, while "Never Give In" is a naughty ode to skirt-chasing. Gone are the synthesized rhythms of past Streets records, as live instrumentation takes over with prominent electric guitars, bass, and lush horn sections, resulting in a more rock-infused production sound. Likewise, Skinner's flows are less frenetic, while virtually every track features a crooned hook.
Rolling Stone (p.80) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[H]is vivid introspection recalls rap forefather Rakim, whose mind power and love of fish are echoed on 'The Escapist,' a lush soul jam about thinking your way past barriers."
Spin (p.93) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[H]e flexes a storyteller's knack for plot and character....Over inventive arrangement that feature more live instrumentation than on any other Streets album, Skinner gives maturity a fresh coat of meaning."
Spin (p.48) - Ranked #27 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2008" -- "Skinner mirrors the lyrical intimacy with cozy live-band arrangements full of guitar and keyboard..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.101) - "[H]is backing tracks incorporate more live instrumentation, adding some much-needed musical warmth to complement his lyrics' newfound depth." -- Grade: A-
Alternative Press (p.153) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Musically, it's majestic stuff. The title track bursts with swelling strings and codeine-swirled horns..."
Billboard (p.29) - "'Heaven for the Weather' is positively jaunty...and Skinner's dancing wordplay hits the beats on the gently meandering 'On the Flip of a Coin' just right."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.100) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]here are enough slinkily wonderful tunes, gleeful beats and moments of genuine tenderness to make Skinner's transformation not just convincing but also really rather lovely."
Blender (Magazine) (p.78) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Skinner incorporates jazz piano, acid-funk guitar and other soulful fixings as he gets downright pedagogical, gleefully discoursing on the environment, war and peace, the importance of friendship, even semiotics."
Paste (magazine) (p.55) - "His new record retains The Streets' puckish charm while showing signs of maturity....As always, Skinner's primary instrument is his marvelous British accent..."