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Alright, Still - Lily Allen
Member Name: Essexgirl2006
Alright, Still - Lily Allen
Advantages: Summery tunes, some witty lyrics
Disadvantages: 'Mockney' vocals, some belligerent lyrics.
Lily Allen is the daughter on comedian Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen. She has had small parts in films her mother has produced, notably Elizabeth with Cate Blanchett where she played a Lady in Waiting. 21 year old Lily was signed to Parlaphone late last year, in response to her popular My Space music profile (see link below). It has been widely reported that she was being expelled from a dozen or so different schools as well as experimenting with drugs in her teens, although it doesn’t seem to have done her any harm, as she has managed to produce a number one single with her debut single, and a top five album. The album, ‘Alright, Still’ refers to a slang saying of her brother’s which means ‘Cool’.
The first track on the CD is the number one single Smile and has some very interesting lyrics and a Dance Hall/Reggae beat to it. I loved it when I first heard it for the original and witty lyrics and as I quite like the reagge/ska genre it was quite interesting to hear something fresh. It is apparently inspired by the depression Allen experienced after a relationship break up in her teens; the lyrics belie the perky tune they are sung to. Knock ‘Em Out is a very Streets-ish about trying to get away from unwanted blokes in the pub, and girls that bother blokes by return. It is talking rather than singing and there are some amusing excuses given. LDN was actually released before Smile but as a limited edition 7” vinyl only before being properly released as a single back in September. It is another reggae inspired track where Lily sings about the worst things about London and city life (crack whores and muggers) and then asks why she would want to be anywhere else when the sun is shining. Somewhere without crack whores and muggers possibly?! It is due to be released properly in late September.
Everything’s Just Wonderful, with its Seventies TV theme inspired intro is about when things aren’t wonderful and you can’t get a mortgage because of bad credit (a problem I am sure Ms Allen no longer has) or eat what you want without feeling guilty about putting weight on. Not Big continues with the typical ska type beat that is present in most of the tracks on the CD, and is an amusing song about telling an ex that he was a bit rubbish in bed and… err… a bit small. I can’t help wondering if it is autobiographical like others on the CD and whether there is an ex-boyfriend of Lily’s out there, cringing, as he recognises himself!
Friday Night sounds as if it has been inspired by The Specials ‘Ghost Town’ and is about a night out in a club and being provoked by some other girls. Shame For You is another track about rejecting an admirer; it has a more bluesy feel over the ska beat. Well, about a bluesey as Lily Allen can get, she does actually sing on this track (she says she is classically trained) compared to her half talking, half singing on a lot of other tracks and, as ever, her lyrics are sharp and witty. Littlest Things is about reminiscing about a past relationship (presumably not with the guy who was bad in bed) and is the nearest to a romantic ballad on the CD. There is a piano and strings and harmonious backing vocals over a ska type beat with Allen’s “Cor Blimey” vocals warbling over it, quite frankly it makes it all sound a bit odd!
Take What You Take is about keeping in real and receiving unwanted advice. All this adds up to the fact the Allen has a huge chip on her shoulder with lines like “What the f*** do you know? Just cos you’re old and think you’re wise”. Friend of Mine is about ending an old school friendship because said friend now talks s***e. Alfie is a very interesting track and Lily actually sings, rather than half-talks, about her real brother Alfie and is very catchy, although he can’t be too pleased with being immortalized as a weed-smoking, lazy t*** by his sister. I have read interviews where she has since said she regrets bringing her family in since then (which makes me wonder more if the ex-boyfriend who was bad in bed was real).
A lot of her tracks tell people not to take her on because you will get a reaction, I don’t know if Lily is like this in real life, I suspect she can be very forthright and opinionated as this comes across in interviews. However, I do feel slightly uncomfortable with some of the verbal belligerence on some tracks, but hopefully (and I suspect) it is more talk than do. Lily’s outspokenness, attitude and unique musical style have made her a bit ‘marmite’ (i.e. you either love her or hate her) with the record buying public. While I generally like her lyrics I find the ‘Mockney’ singing a bit irritating, especially as I have heard her speak in interviews and she sounds nothing like that. She admits to a middle class upbringing, which makes the faux-working class act a bit grating. In my opinion, there are two ways to listen to this CD, either carefully listening to the generally amusing lyrics or have it on in the background as the melodies and choruses are very catchy so I find myself bopping away in my seat as I surf Ciao!
Would I recommend it? Yes, I would. Most songs are growers, and I was not sure after the first listen, but two or three listens later and I am glad I have bought it. Not all songs are as strong as Smile, but if you like your pop mixed with a bit of reggae and ska then I think this is worth a try.
There is swearing on the album, usually the F word. The C word is blanked out where is would have been used. The CD invites you to insert it in your PC and get an exclusive album, but this doesn’t seem to work for me, I can only access a mix of her tracks from this album (or maybe that is what I was supposed to get!). The inlay card features the lyrics to the songs and is in a ska friendly black, white and red design. There are no pictures other than the cover one.
http://www.myspace.com/leadingbyexample This is an answer song by Example called Vile, written as if he was the boyfriend referred to by Lily on Smile (he wasn’t, but it is an amusing track anyway).
Lily’s MySpace site: http://www.myspace.com/lilymusic
Official website: http://lilyallenmusic.com/
Both websites allow you to listen to a few tracks.
Summary: Pop mixed with reggae and ska