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Wednesday, March 24, 2004  
The Streets - "Fit But You Know It"
Guitars, for a start, which quite confused me for a second until I remembered the whole thing about Original Pirate Material being about the death of dance culture, which made it logical that Mike Skinner would crack out the guitars for his new record. The rhythm of the play put me in mind of The Specials, but the chug is far less ska than post-grunge US alt-punk. It's doubtless ripped off something else, making it ironic that the versions flying around P2P networks consist of 5-minutes of the same 20-second snippet of chorus looped, because Skinner himself (or his record company) don't want him being ripped off (smoking dope is as illegal as copyright infringement, Mike), taking the incongruously posh-sounding "my gosh" in the chorus seem like some kind of anti-profanity mantra and causing me to wonder if he's ever actually sworn on record - he must have, surely?

Of course, for the first thirty seconds, his faux-mockney (is it faux? is it mockney?) uber-Anglo-drawl makes me want to punch him in the face, but then he pauses for a split-second before the phrase "white-shirted man", making it clear that he hates Ben Sherman as much as anyone else, and the chorus rolls around again and this time you finally catch onto the phrasing and delivery - "I'm not trying to pull you / even though I would like to / I think you are really fit / you're fit but my gosh don't you know it" - and it becomes the greatest thing to sing along with ever. Or at least since you were last in a school playground legally. His trick, or schtick, or gimmick, or thing is still the fact that he voices all the petty, jealous, pathetic, adolescent desires, frustrations and idiotic epiphanies that everyone of a certain age finds themselves afflicted with as they enter the stage of suspended adultescence that is the early-20s, however much they try to behave like a real grown-up. By the time the chorus is chopped-up into two (and a bit) words for the finale ("you're fit! you're fit! you're fit! you're fit!"), the song is a proper playground chant. Little boys never grow up.


3/24/2004 10:46:00 am


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005