REVIEW: Lily Allen – Alright, Still (2006)

Alright StillMuch has been made of the claim that Allen has come to fame only due to her prominent family connections. This would indeed be a valid argument if the resulting output demonstrated a complete and utter lack of talent or musical inclination. It is therefore unfortunate for these cynical critics that Allen’s album is a strong debut through which her own unique voice and musical stylings are given free reign.

You may be forgiven for thinking that this is just another pop album with little substance, but before dismissing this album straight away, give it a listen. For beneath its seemingly innocent upbeat pop sound, there lurks a black comedic heart. This album deals with ‘real’ issues such as taking delight at an ex-boyfriend’s misery (Smile), dealing with unwanted attention at the bar (Knock ‘Em Out), and trying to give your dope smoking brother a wake up call (Alfie). There are some great tracks in here and I’d be really hard pressed to find a weak one amongst them. Each of these catchy tunes will get you grooving and singing along. This is mainly due to Allen’s unerring ability to take abrasively cutting lyrics and deliver them all with a cheeky grin.Lily Allen

This girl is a straight talker with a smart arse preppy sound. Allen isn’t backward about sharing what she thinks and with this album she shares it all. Her strong personality and keen wit shine through, as does her overall philosophy of ‘taking nothing from no one’.

My pick of the best songs:

Smile

‘I was so lost back then
But with a little help from my friends
I found a light in the tunnel at the end.’

You’re no doubt familiar with this song, it has been given extensive airplay and with its catchy laid back ‘pop reggae’ beat, it’s an easy crowd pleaser. ‘Smile’ describes a place we’ve all been to, experiencing a bad break up, eventually getting over it, only to find that your ex wants you back. I think we’d all agree it’s OK to take some pleasure in seeing the dumper suffer (even if it’s just a little).

Knock ‘Em Out

‘Try desperately to think of the politest way to say,
Just get out my face, just leave me alone,
And no you can’t have me number.’

This track has a really lively, upbeat sound achieved mainly through the use of keyboards (which sound kind of like the opening to a show tune) and a strong base. That great British accent comes to the forefront in this song and beautifully compliments the cheeky lyrics. Perhaps next time your stuck with someone determined to give you unwanted attention you can give one of Allen’s excuses a go – ‘I’m pregnant’, ‘I’m just too busy’, ‘My house is on fire’…or better yet, just play this track for them.

Alfie

‘Alfie get up it’s a brand new day,
I just can’t sit back and watch your life waste away
You need to get a job because the bills need to get paid.’

This song has a very cute pop sound. The sugary sweet delivery belies the cutting wit in this song. Basically this song is a plea to Allen’s younger brother to smoke maybe just a little less pot.