Sound — 8
I know who needs to read another review of Lily Allen's album? It's like having another Coldplay review, but her debut album Alright, Still really is a keeper. Produced by Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse, Christina Aguilera), the album shows the Hammersmith, England born and London bred native's roots having soaked up the music played in London's underground clubs. As the daughter of Great Britain's actor Keith Allen, Lily Allen was surrounded and influenced by England's artistic community. Now at 21, she is traveling around the world and playing in theaters that pack 1,000 plus patrons. Not bad for a gal whose cockney accent is quite deep on the record. Her street savvy vocal registers are refined by an Esthero-julep glint and her music is festooned with calypso-dance beats reminiscent of Harry Belafonte and the urban-pop of Tone Loc and Lou Bega. But what gives her music a long lasting quality is her concepts for revamping classic dance/reggae material and bringing it's pop tinged persuasion into modern times. The island beats and heavy funk of LDN is like Notting Hill, London's equivalent to America's Mardi Gras partying with street dancing grooves galore. The boogie reggae styling of Knock 'Em Out is contrasted by the soft acoustic guitar swags and soothing piano melody of Littlest Things. The synth-pop and heavy funk bass beats of Take What You Take browses into jazz flavored ska scoops on Friday Night and Shame For You. The pop racked reggae of Smile and Not Big are twilled into '70s soft-pop and ska drizzles on Everything's Just Wonderful. The combination of smooth jazz and reggae pendulums on Friend Of Mine has a cozy fluidity while the uptempo jangling on Alfie has a show tunes vibe, very extroverted and spirited.
Lyrics — 9
Lily Allen's lyrical content is about living in the present whether she is using modern slang terms in her lyrics like It don't mean jack from her pop single Smile, or telling it like it is from the song LDN when she narrates about living in the city of London, There was a little old lady who was walking down the road/ She was struggling with bags from Tesco/ There were people in the city having lunch in the park/ I believe that is called alfresco/ Then a kid came along to offer a hand/ But before she had time to accept it/ Hits her over the head, doesn't care if she's dead/ 'Cause he's got all her jewelry and wallet. She tells in her bio that her lyrics are literal and direct and apparently have an in your face honesty. She does not justify the wrongdoings of people her age, but wants them to face their own abusive nature like in the track Alfie which is about a lazy brother who won't get a hold of his addictions. Lyrically, her songs are potent and musically, they are imbibed with reggae-funk, calypso swagger and urban-pop.
Overall Impression — 8
Lily Allen's album puts jolts of dance steps in life from dealing with a cheating boyfriend to chiding a girlfriend or brother who won't straighten themselves out. Her album has relevance to present times revamping the classic calypso pulses of Belafonte and being equally likeable. You have to wonder if there is more for her to talk about and put into songs. What her next album will bring is a guess, but Alright, Still is a definite keeper.