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Lily Allen - Alright, Still

2006-08-18 10:47
Lily Allen, daughter of two British celebs, may be a poor little rich girl that most British teens should despise, but there's one difference between Lily and most teenagers in the UK top 10: Lily Allen is entertaining for at least one listen.

Often, the more entertaining people are not the most likeable, or even the most sincere, and Lily is no exception. She's funny though - listening to her record is a bit like indulging in salacious gossip about one good friend / lover with another good friend, complete with giggling and a stab of guilt now and again.

Her big hit "Smile" is all about the enjoyment of the pain of another and the joys of bittersweet revenge "At first, when I see you cry / yeah it makes me smile, yeah it makes me smile " and even the clean version on KFM with the reference to "fucking that girl next door" removed doesn't lose the grime that gives it just enough heat to rise above the chilly heap of sanitised crap that dominates the charts. Lily's breathy rap meets ska meets pop is as fluffy as anything by the Spice Girls but not nearly as wholesome. She doesn't appear to have rules for life relating to friends (does she have any?) or the desire to go down the pub and get together with a footie boy.

Instead, Lily is snooty, arrogant and seemingly unaware of how small her problems really are. She mocks a guy she's dumping for the size of his thingy and its inability to perform adequately on "Not Big" and she really seems to be enjoying his humiliation: "Lest (sic) see how you feel in a couple of weeks, When I work my way through your mates". And so on. It's mean, but you might find yourself laughing out loud. Clearly the recipe works - her album had gone to No. 2 in the UK by August 2006.

Opinion is divided when it comes to Lily Allen's worth. Many parents will feel that her singing openly of sex, badmouthing respected do-gooders like Bob Geldof, joking about drugs and flaunting her sass doesn't set a good example.

So what?

Anyone with a sense of fun won't want a good example. They'll want a bit of fun. And with "Alright, Still" they'll get just that. No anthems about politics, no anti-war songs. Just pedestrian yet twisted stuff about wanting boys, not wanting girls, laughing at things she shouldn't, wanting more money than she has... stuff that she actually knows about.

- Jean Barker
It's a love hate thing for almost any fan of intelligent music. Yes, Lily Allen is clever. No, she's probably not a nice person if her lyrics are anything to go by. But her album is just so damn entertaining that it's hard to care about principles.

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