He may yet turn out to be 21st century Britain's very own Gil Scott-Heron.
Chris Long 2008
Things used to be much simpler for Mike Skinner. His biggest problems used to involve drinking too much brandy, holiday romances and dating celebrities.
Not any more. Now he's facing those nagging points of humanity that keep a bright mind unsettled at night – life, love, death and religion.
In many ways, Everything Is Borrowed is the culmination of the course that began on Never Went To Church. Skinner is no longer the scrawny wannabe looking for a Class A; he's concerned about the environment (Way Of The Dodo), saving us from despair (On The Edge Of A Cliff), charting his own path to enlightenment (Alleged Legends) and worrying about his immortal soul (Heaven For The Weather).
Thankfully, he's not become pompous; the album is still filled with trademark wit. It's just that he's looked into himself and found a depth that's lurked there from the start – remember the beautifully honest Weak Become Heroes? – but never really had a chance to surface.
It has now. The maturity of Everything… shines out of the hook-packed tunes and, though he still comes with flaws – the deeply weird stalker tune Never Give In and the disco brothers-in-arms nonsense of Sherry End could have both done with a lot more thought – the album shows that he genuinely is a star.
He still might not be able to rap or rhyme, but on this evidence, he may yet turn out to be 21st century Britain's very own Gil Scott-Heron.