Lily Allen

Alright, Still (Capitol)

The "queen of MySpace" has finally landed stateside, giving hope to every bedroom MC this side of Lubbock. But what really drives Allen's success—and it seems to be overlooked—is not her number of "friends" but her partners in production, Futurecut and Mark Ronson. Allen's lyrics are no doubt "cheeky"; her voice claims a youthful innocence, a bit of a "What, me worry?" tone, and she deals with such troublesome conundrums as chumps hitting on her in clubs, chumps cheating on her and, well, chumps of the past. Not necessarily new subject matter by any means, but the live instrumentation and production end up making Allen sound fresh. Horn sections and slow, funky rhythm sections pair her voice with an oozy, head-bopping ska sound. The playful "Knock 'Em Out" recalls the Creole sound of "Big Chief," popularized by Professor Longhair years ago. Granted, the song's a Fresh Prince-style narrative that tells the perils of getting digits, but maybe that's where the genius lies. If you don't take Alright, Still too seriously, you have a debut that's undeniably likable and poised for "Hey Ya"-style crossover.

 
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