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A Grand Don't Come for Free
Studio album by The Streets
Released May 18, 2004
Genre UK garage, hip hop, electronica
Length 50:36
Label Vice, Atlantic
Producer Mike Skinner
Professional reviews
The Streets chronology
All Got Our Runnins
A Grand Don't Come for Free
The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living

A Grand Don't Come for Free is the second studio album from British garage and Hip hop act The Streets. It was released on 18 May 2004 and is listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.


Track listing

All songs written and Composed by Mike Skinner

# Title Length
1 It Was Supposed to Be So Easy 3:56
2 Could Well Be In 4:24
3 Not Addicted 3:40
4 Blinded by the Lights 4:45
5 Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way 4:36
6 Get Out of My House (feat. MC C-Mone) 3:52
7 Fit But You Know It 4:14
8 Such a Twat 3:48
9 What Is He Thinking? 4:41
10 Dry Your Eyes 4:31
11 Empty Cans 8:15

Critical Reception

Critical response from the album, like from his previous album, was near universally positive. It currently scores 91/100 on Metacritic, [1] slightly higher than his previous album, which scored 90/100. [2] Many critics have noted Skinner's difference in style compared to other artists. Trouser Press said that "Skinner seems both edgier and more contemplative."[citation needed] The Guardian described that the album "raises the stakes to such an extent that it sounds literally unprecedented: there isn't really any other album like this.", and PopMatters described that Skinner "is now in a class all his own; nobody else is making music like this.[3] Austin Chronicle named the album "The first hip-hop classic of the new millennium." However, Playlouder criticized the album's hooks, describing most as "Appalling - a few, sung by Skinner, like 'Such A Twat', and opener 'It Was Supposed To Be So Easy' are enjoyable, but when he lets his mates croon soupily all over his beats, shit gets distinctly unpleasant."[citation needed] Online music magazine Pitchfork Media placed A Grand Don't Come for Free at number 129 on their list of top 200 albums of the 2000s.[4] Likewise, music magazine NME placed the album at number 16 on their list of "top 50 albums of the noughties".[5]

The story

In the story, the protagonist loses £1000, or a grand in slang terms and strives to recoup the money.

In the first track on the album, "It Was Supposed to Be So Easy", he attempts seemingly simple events for the day but they don't go according to plan. When he comes home he cannot find the thousand pounds he has saved and his television is broken. In the process of trying to recover the money he:

  • Starts seeing a girl called Simone who works in JD Sports with his friend Dan. ("Could Well Be In")
  • Tries to recover the thousand pounds by gambling. After a series of wins he frustratingly cannot get to the bookmaker's in time to make a big gamble. Fortuitously, the prediction is wrong — it's his lucky day. ("Not Addicted")
  • Is stood up at a nightclub by Simone, but passes the time drinking alcohol and taking cocaine and ecstasy; he thinks he sees Simone kissing Dan but the drug induced high distracts him before he can think about it properly. ("Blinded By the Lights")
  • Moves into Simone's house and finds himself comfortable smoking marijuana there, rather than drinking with his friends at the pub. ("Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way")
  • Argues with Simone and she kicks him out of her house. ("Get Out of My House")
  • Poses to impress a girl ("Fit But You Know It") in a take away restaurant during a heavy night drinking on holiday.
  • Flies back from the holiday and remorsefully reviews the events of the previous night during a phone call to a friend, realising he still wants to be with Simone.("Such a Twat")
  • Suspects his mate Scott of stealing his coat, money and girlfriend but discovers that Simone is actually having an affair with Dan. ("What is He Thinking?")
  • Tries to cope with his girlfriend breaking up with him. ("Dry Your Eyes").
  • Deals with the events of his life in one of two ways; the final track, "Empty Cans", features two endings to the plot, a bitter ending and a happy ending (the former where he and a TV repairman get into a fight over the repairman's fee, and the latter in which he reconciles with his mates and finds the thousand pounds hidden in his TV).
  • The B-Side to the UK single release of "Fit But You Know It" contains the song "Soaked By The Ale" (Length 3:33). The story of this song takes place between the events of "Fit But You Know It" and "Such A Twat". It documents one of Skinner's mates being annoyed at Mike for stealing a tub of ice cream whilst on holiday in Spain as a result of his excessive drinking. The chronological order is identified in "Such A Twat" where Skinner raps "And that incident with the ice cream I forgot, it all ended in our vodka".


The first single from the album, "Fit But You Know It" reached number four on the UK Singles Charts with the second single, "Dry Your Eyes" entering the UK Charts at number one. The album itself reached number one in the UK Album Charts, number eleven in Australia and number eighty-two in the United States. Two other singles - "Blinded by the Lights" and "Could Well Be In" - were released, but failed to earn as much recognition as the previous two.

  • "Fit But You Know It" Released: March 1, 2004 #4 UK
  • "Dry Your Eyes" Released: May 31, 2004 #1 UK
  • "Blinded by the Lights" Released: September 13, 2004
  • "Could Well Be In" Released: November 8, 2004


External links

Preceded by
Hopes and Fears by Keane
Scissor Sisters by Scissor Sisters
UK number one album
July 3, 2004 – July 9, 2004
July 31, 2004 – August 6, 2004
Succeeded by
Scissor Sisters by Scissor Sisters
Live in Hyde Park by Red Hot Chili Peppers

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