Lily Allen is one of the cases where the hype machine, even if a bit too loud, was working for the right artist. Before she broke big, before she hit the States, there was buzz and internet hum about the new bright, young thing from England. She not only lived up to it, but more than took charge of it. A wise mix of good bad fashion choices, and just the right exploitation of her looks didn’t help.
Was she a music crush for a while? Most certainly. Any music geek with a thing for ladies in the mid 00’s had a thing for her. I was more of a Kate Nash man, though lately, Kate has gone a bit odd style wise. (BACK TO THE GINGER, LOVE! TA!) So she’s attractive and can generate celebrity. But is she any good?
Absolutely. Lily, besides pumping out delightful and varied music, is also good with the lyrics. And not bad at patter or rap, either. So, yeah.
Her first album, ‘Alright, Still,’ is a perfect debut. You get the sense of who she is, just how sharp her lyrical teeth are, and a lot of fun music. Which also happens to have dark edges, broken glass, and enough snark to make you cough on your g&t. Think of her as Dorothy Parker for the Pot & Ecstasy generation. Take a gander at her video for ‘LDN':
Whether you’ve lived in London, New York, or any really great city, you get the love for city just so wrong, and raw, and awful, yet why would live anywhere else? Another track to please, among many is ‘Alfie.’ About her brother, Alfie Allen. Theon Greyjoy, on ‘Game of Thrones.’ Take a listen. He might actually envy his character, who was only beaten, lamed, and castrated.
I just watched the video. Yup… insult to injury, all while Ms. Lily plays up the Bright Young Thing look.
The entire album plays smooth, easy, then hits you with nice jolts of darkness. It was followed up in 2009 by “It’s Not Me, It’s You.” A touch more electronic and dancey, and another great album. She’s back, making clear that she you to wrap your heart in a nice box, so she can stomp on it while you thank her for it. In fact, she’s just “Not Fair” Again, snark, wit, and someone either let Ms. Allen down, or is really worried she’s writing about them. Enjoy the music, pay attention to the lyrics, and take in a female artist not afraid of pissing people off. Usually for the right reasons. She’s ramping up for her next release “Sheezus” and yep… people are pissed off. I’m going to let them have their time, and argue, and check out the video that has confused everyone. But instead, I want to share her cover of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know.” I was shocked when she made the choice.. Lily doing one of the sweetest, most emotionally pure songs I have ever heard? And even if it’s not clear if the protagonist has salvaged the relationship, there’s a hope there. Lily nails it. The video’s balance of animation and the craft involved just speaks to the quality she’s always delivered, and the promise of more. I don’t know if “Sheezus” will be the disappointment some people really feel (or want) it to be. But I don’t care. Lily Allen is a great artist, with more range to explore, and I hope she keeps on exploring the less-snarky side. Even if she turns around, two fingers in a delightfully English lady like “FUCK YOU!”
Artist: Lily Allen
Album: Alright, Still
Date Listened in Tour: 7/15/08
Best Songs: “Smile”,”LDN”
Album: It’s Not Me, It’s You
Date Listened in Tour: 3/20/09
Best Songs: “Everyone’s At It”,”Not Fair”