This is more of a gut reaction since I haven't even listened all the way through twice yet. This posthumous release is unnerving in its ruminations and allusions to life and death considering Strummer's sudden, unexpected death last year. Eeriest of all is the closing track, "Silver and Gold," a renamed Fats Domino tune about kissing the girls, dancing every night and generally living life to fullest "before I grow too old."
Apart from the after-the-fact symbolism is the bigger issue that the album raises: why do you keep doing what you're doing? Athlete's bodies wear out, so they definitely reach a point where they can no longer match the top professionals in their field. With musicians, it's more vague: once you've reached a commercial and/or critical peak, is it possible to surpass or even match earlier successes? So why do you continue? Is it for the process or the outcome, the joy of the activity itself or the glory that results in terms of fame, money, acclaim and power? Cyclist Sean Yates was always happiest helping other teammates win races and was uncomfortable with the attention when he was in the lead; rather than retiring, he started racing on the masters' circuit just for the love of getting on a bike and going fast. And it's obvious from Streetcore that even if the Mescaleros were never going to be labeled "the only band that matters these days," former Clashman Strummer was recording and touring for the love of playing music. The album is joyous.
Especially in light of Elliott Smith's apparent suicide, Streetcore is a needed reminder of a musician ending his days doing something that made him really happy.