Lily Allen, Alright, Still (Edited Version)
A genuine-sounding mainstream pop album
When Lily Allen's first record appeared a few months after her 21st birthday, it felt like an album that could trigger a sea change. Allen's sly-but-friendly persona saturated every track; the daughter of show-business veterans, she already exuded the confidence of a performer twice her age. Though she enlisted the aid of nearly a dozen hotshot producers to create Alright, Still, its greatest strength is that it never comes across calculated or constructed; Allen's witty lyrics, breezily snotty persona and consistently fresh attitude makes it that rarest of things: a genuine-sounding mainstream pop album. Even when she's displaying a nasty contempt for a former beau (the album's theme, if it can be said to have one, showing up on lead single "Smile," "Shame for You," and the delightfully vicious "Not Big"), she does it with an energetic and honest demeanor that keeps both her and her songs remarkably likable. Even a potentially eye-rolling maneuver like sampling Sandie Shaw (a sort of '60s proto-Lily Allen) on "Alfie," a goofy ode to her slacker brother, comes across as utterly charming. Though Allen's style is no longer unique, Alright, Still remains its finest and most inviting expression.