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Lily Allen

  • Alright, Still,
  • It's Not Me, It's You,

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    Lily Allen

    Alright, Still ( 2006 )
    Smile / Knock Em Out / LDN / Everything's Just Wonderful / Not Big / Friday Night / Shame For You / Littlest Things / Take What You Take / Friend Of Mine / Alfie

    Some upbringing, Actor/Comedian Keith Allen is her father, her mother was involved in making 'Shaun Of The Dead', family friends with Joe Strummer, etc. Album and artist self-promoted via myspace and a debut single proper going straight to number one in the UK single charts. Talent? Well, she's got a slightly weird voice. I guess her fathers influence, but the semi-singing, semi-spoken style absolutely works, because her voice is also strong enough to carry it off. She's written the songs for the album with two or three different producers, yet the entire affair sounds particular cohesive. She's been famously described by one music critic as a Mike Skinner with tits, based entirely on 2nd track, the very streets-like 'Knock Em Out', Lily trying to escape unwanted male advances in a club. It's all back to basics, each song here is three or four minutes long and seemingly designed to be a single. A simple approach, The Beatles did it, it's the proper pop music approach, no filler. The lead single 'Smile', the number one hit, isn't actually even close to being the best song on the album. It's a slightly irritating pop tune, far better in every respect is the amazingly happy sounding 'IDN', lyrical observations acute, it's not quite as happy as it first appears. Yet, the chourus is irristable, the bouncy, reggae influenced tune seems particularly plastic and shiny, yet everything here is. Plastic and shiny? Yet, the album overcomes any possible fakeness or usual major label overproduction through Lily Allen, her voice and lyrics are not your usual record label pop-star fare. She carries the album, it's her voice that gives the tunes their context. Various songs about relationships and based around Lily and her life in London.

    If we're here talking highlights, although the album has no particular weakspots, the gorgeous 'Littlest Things' has to rank as possibly the finest thing here. Over a delicate piano pattern, soft beats, Lily reminisces about the good times in a relationship that has fallen on harder times. 'Dirty grotty magazines, watching DVDs', we've real attention to small details. 'Alfie', now there's a proper London name! The song's about her brother, she's said she regrets writing so much about her early life, although we're to take the events dipicted with a pinch of salt. Married to a tune so bouncy it's wonder it doesn't float off into the air altogether, cheesy lyrics to go with the cheesy tune, yet it somehow works. She's an artist, like Mike Skinner with a simple formula that works only because of the personality of the artist in question. The same formula repeated by someone else would sound dreadful. The same formula repeated by Lily herself may well wear thin through subsequent repeated albums, but hold on. We're not there yet. Oh, did I mention the fact that this eleven track album runs to a mere 37 minutes? That's not a bad thing, by the way. It's a proper pop album length for a proper pop album, perhaps the finest pure pop release of this year. You maybe shouldn't like this, but you will. It's a very addictive record.

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    Chris Jones futureproof381@hotmail.com
    This is indeed a fine album,and the fact Lily didn't win anything at the Brits should be seen as a vindication rather than a defeat-the brits honour rubbish anyway.

    It's Not Me, It's You 7 ( 2009 )
    Everyone's At It / The Fear / It's Not Fair / 22 / I Could Say / Go Back To the Start / Never Gonna Happen / Fuck You / Who'd've Known / Chinese / Him / He Wasn't There

    Lily wants the US number one album slot and at the time of writing, some two days before the album is officially released, it's looking like she may just about manage it. That is really something isn't it, I mean, how long has it been since the US started buying British pop, as opposed to British rock? Well, perhaps Leona Lewis has made US record companies more willing to push Brit acts? Anyway, down to the music. Lily has spent the entire time since her last album in the UK glossy magazines, newspapers, etc. She's on the Internet showing her body in places a pap just happened to be lurking. She's very contrived then in one sense. In another sense, you could just say she knows how to play the game. This 'game' is vastly different to how music stars had to behave even ten years ago. If you're a pop act now, you've got to chase celebrity. Let's face it, you're not going to slog your guts on the touring circuit are you?

    Lily keeps the same mix that resulted in her debut LP becoming a best-seller. The samples are less reggae and more diverse than before, yet these samples still manage to be clever and manage to propel her songs forwards. I dare say that 'It's Not Me It's You' is a more mature sounding set of tunes than her debut and a little less sunny as a result, which may dismay some. Her vocals this time out seem too one-dimensional, yet 'Him' doesn't sound any less good for such one-dimensional vocals without huge emotion. Lily you see is joining the new pop-brigade. We have a new pop sound, pop is back - etcetera and so-forth. Lead single 'The Fear' opens with acoustic, Lily then proceeds to sing about her life as a celebrity and her ambitions as a distinctly plastic pop beat parps and farts next to her. It works though, because she's made enough of herself, you believe what she's singing about.

    All those trips around Europe with her breasts out didn't do any harm then? Well, the melodies aren't as strong as they were last time out. I do have a special mention for 'He Wasn't There' which rides cleverly along a crackly old jazz record, or so it seems. 'Back To The Start' should probably be a future single because 'It's Not Me It's You' doesn't apparently seem to contain many potential hits. I think she knows what she's doing though and I think she realizes her own limitations and I think she realizes the fleeting nature of fame. 'Back To The Start' by the way is dancey and pretty crap. What? Well, of course it'll be a single, then. I mean, it sounds like Girls Aloud.

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    Craig Aston Kingswinford
    I'll be honest I was always annoyed by the attention she got for Alright, Still - as I thought she was this generation's Kirsty MacColl, with about a tenth of the talent.I must admit, I think 22 of the new album is pretty good, much the same way as LDN is quite infectious - it sounds like a plasticy knock off of My Affair from Electric Landlady. Maybe our expectations are lower and they get reached more easily?

    this page last updated 8/10/09

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