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With her much-buzzed-about debut album, Alright, Still, singer Lily Allen, the daughter of veteran British comedian Keith Allen, presents a bright, buoyant collection of pop songs that are smartly counterbalanced by her often-biting lyrical edge. On the breezy, immediately catchy "Smile," the sultry-voiced Allen takes pleasure in the woes of a former beau, while the bleakly upbeat urban ode "LDN" recalls an unlikely fusion of the Streets and Norah Jones. Though part of Allen's charm is in her day-in-the-life, U.K.-specific observations (see the punchy "Knock 'Em Out"), Alright, Still has enough sass, verve, and melody to appeal to a wide international audience.
2. Knock' Em Out
4. Everything's Just Wonderful
5. Not Big
6. Friday Night
7. Shame For You
8. Littlest Things
9. Take What YouTake
10. Friend Of Mine
12. Nan You're A Window Shopper
"When you first left me, I was wanting more/But you were fucking that girl next door." With these gentle words, Lily Allen entered the breakup-song hall of fame, singing "Smile" to her ex with a breezy sha-la-la lilt that just made the song seem even nastier. The girl's got a mouth on her. She blew up in the U.K. last year and already has a sizable cult here, so the U.S. release of her debut album, Alright, Still, is belated yet welcome. In the tradition of Annie, Robyn and Stacey Q, Allen is a theoretical pop princess whose U.S. audience consists mainly of lonely-guy literary types. The twenty-one-year-old London brat writes shambling pop songs, rooted in ska and rap, with cheeky rhymes -- she never sounds like she's trying too hard. In "LDN," she walks through the city checking out pimps and crack whores, because "the filth took away my license." (That means the cops.) She gushes about how bright and sunny London is, and you sure don't hear that every day -- but it's just more proof that Lily Allen's an original.
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