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Lily Allen
Alright, Still
Capitol Records

Are you looking for the ultimate summertime record for 2007? A record with panache and attitude, cool grooves and senseless pop that just makes you feel like kicking back in the sunshine with a margarita? Search no more - Lily Allen's Alright, Still is that record. The grooves are tight and varied, but every song is a brightly produced gem. Allen tackles subjects that are close to the heart of the modern girl, from living in the wilds of modern London to the vicious feelings of revenge after breaking up with a beau… all the while keeping up a cool summertime rhythm that will have even the most un-hip of duds tapping their foot.

The album kicks off in high gear with the reggae inspired bounce of "Smile", a song that immediately endears the listener with its irreverent take on break-ups. She gloriously tells the story of reveling in the pain of the ex- while hearing about his troubles post-separation. The song is likeable on many fronts, from the humanity of the overall tone, to the loveable bounce of the music, and the beautiful way that Allen's voice maintains its distinctly British flavor as it quips on in everyday slang. "Knock 'Em Out" has a background that is filled to the brim with the call and response of the bar scene while a DJ Jazzy Jeff-style hip-hop vibe carries Allen's simple tale of barroom rejection. The vernacular is brilliant and makes the song even more enjoyable.

"Everything's Just Wonderful" has a jazzy vibe with a bit of "The Girl From Iponema" flavor as Allen diatribes tongue-in-cheek about the pitfalls of modern life. Allen disses on the ex- again on "Not Big", lacing the track with brilliant digs and her wonderfully seductive bad attitude. By the time the album reaches the story about her pot-smoking little brother "Alfie", Lily Allen has made her mark as one of pop's finest songwriters and modern life's best off-the-cuff storytellers. "Alfie" is an endearing Disney soundtrack-like plea to her little brother to get off the drugs and get a job because "how the hell do you ever expect that you'll get laid/ when all you do is stay and play on your computer games?" The music is filled with a lilting joviality that perfectly carries the song along.

Alright, Still is the perfect pop album - only two of the songs clock in at more than three and a half minutes and each song has a beat that could easily be danced to. Even better is the fact that Lily Allen is so cute, but her lyrics are so darned angry and vicious that it belies her pleasant exterior. Her voice is wonderful as she raps about window shoppers or ugly guys at the bar while maintaining her distinctive English accent, rather than watering down her brogue for the masses. She's literate and indelicate all at once, a fabulous combination for this finest of summertime music.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. Smile
2. Knock 'Em Out
3. LDN
4. Everything's Just Wonderful
5. Not Big
6. Friday Night
7. Shame For You
8. Littlest Things
9. Take What You Take
10. Friend Of Mine
11. Alfie
12. Nan You're A Window Shopper
13. Smile (Version Revisited)

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