So, as the age of internet whoring goes into megabucks overdrive let's have a round of applause for self-proclaimed "MySpace sensation" Lily Allen. Or is she? Because if the noises being made from many media circles are right then it's more of a browny point for her marketing team, who've spent the last six months spreading her name around literally every newspaper – both broadsheet and tabloid, music mag, webzine, gig and festival line-up going. And, more's the point, most have embraced her with open arms. Oh, and of course there's the fact that she has quite a famous, well-established father in the entertainment industry, but we didn't say that, right…
Because 'Alright Still', for all the preconceptions that many people would have – and let's face it, how many of you honestly expected it to be any cop? – is a bright and breezy pop record that, admittedly, takes several listens to get to grips with but like the best cream cakes and cherryade, may give you a long-standing ulcer but right now is exactly what Dr. Fiction ordered by the bucket load.
Granted, not all of the record comes with a thumbs up guarantee of recommendation, as Ms Allen's wannabe Skinnerisms occasionally grate and images of an aesthetically healthier looking Vicki Pollard start to appear. 'Knock 'Em Out' is just plain irritating while 'Littlest Things' sounds like one of the blonde-girl-off-Big-Brother-who-thinks-she's-a-rude-girl's pseudo-yardie pretensions.
But thankfully, there are enough moments on this album to keep even the most cynical pop tart occupied. Current single 'Smile' you'll already have heard – think Betty Boo jamming with Althea & Donna of 'Uptown Top Ranking' fame, while previous single 'LDN' – sure to get a re-release on the back of this methinks – is the catchiest, bounciest tune these ears have had contact with all year, and I include Gnarls Barkley so there. It's all calypso rhythms and reggae horns as Ms Allen declares "The sun is in the sky so why would I wanna be anywhere else?" and is, for want of a better word, gorgeous.
Elsewhere 'Everything's Just Wonderful' sees her attempt to create a new genre – we'll call it lounge-hop- and pull it off quite delicately while 'Shame For You' reveals a more sensitive side to the newest kid on the block, as Ms Allen insists "When you ask if we can still be lovers I'll have to involve my brother." But she obviously feels more at home in the raga dancehalls and 'Friday Night' and 'Take What You Take' both bop along merrily. Without taking too many plaudits away from Ms Allen, special mention must go to the production team behind 'Alright, Still', which includes such luminaries as Mark Ronson, Future Cut and Pablo Cook among others, but when all's said and done, this is a charming record that should ensure Lily Allen doesn't end up in the bargain bin at Woolies just yet.
Released: 17th July 2006
Occasionally - out the blue, if you're lucky, an album comes along that makes you sit back, listen and…Smile. Lily Allen has such album, with Alright, Still.
Instantly creating noise for two reasons, firstly, in the same way that Arctic Monkey's tore it up in cyber world, by putting tracks on MySpace with claims, that a 'staggering million plus' people clicked on to listen to her music, and secondly for being the daughter of prominent British actor Keith Allen.
But who cares about the latter, Allen is what most people fear – a young outspoken cocky chick that just doesn't give a shite. Using her experiences with drugs, boyfriends and an honest look around London, she tells humorous stories that make you wish you had thought to say them yourself. Not big being an ideal revenge track you could play on your ex's answering machine (if you want to be childish) telling him he can't perform in bed. While Alfie done ode-style to her brother does display her warp sensitivity.
Sampling an old soca tune in LDN, and lacing tracks with reggae baselines and rock steady grooves, displays more than your average pop star without going all Lady Sovereign - no chavness or fake Jamaican accent here! Lily Allen is more than alright, still.