Alright, Still [Import]

Alright, Still [Import]

by Lily AllenLily Allen

CD

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Overview

Like most British pop, Lily Allen's debut album, Alright, Still, overflows with impeccably shiny, creative productions. However, Allen attempts to set herself apart from the likes of Rachel Stevens, Natasha Bedingfield, and Girls Aloud with a cheeky, (mostly) amusing vindictive streak in her lyrics that belies the sugarcoated sounds around them. You know exactly what she means when she says her ex is "not big whatsoever" on "Not Big"; later, she revels in being the one that got away on "Shame for You." However, this nice-then-naughty approach is at its best on Alright, Still's singles, which open the album in a one-two-three punch. Another ex-boyfriend kiss-off, "Smile," has a silky verse melody that just barely conceals her spite, which finally spills over on the chorus: "At first, when I see you cry/It makes me smile." But even here, Allen keeps her revenge sweet -- she sounds like she's singing about how ice cream or puppies or being in love makes her smile, which gives the song an extra sting. "Knock 'Em Out" is an even sassier, more stylized battle of the sexes than the Streets' "Fit But You Know It" (and could very well be the response from the girl in Mike Skinner's song). And "LDN" is a glorious summer confection, even if "it's all lies" underneath the Lord Kitchener sample and "sun is in the sky" chorus. Alright, Still's production and arrangements, courtesy of Greg Kurstin, Mark Ronson, and Futurecut, balance Allen's tart observations with a backdrop of pop-grime beats and freewheeling, feel-good ska that makes her sound playful and kittenish instead of just catty. While the album doesn't exactly go downhill after its opening salvo, it does lose some steam, particularly with "Take What You Take," a song that feels out of character with the rest of Alright, Still because it's uncharacteristically dull, and "Alfie," which falls especially flat as the album's final song. Allen softens her tough-girl pose more successfully on "Little Things," a ballad that celebrates the mundane moments of a dying relationship ("You'd take me out shopping and all we'd buy was trainers/As if we ever needed anything to entertain us") and "Everything's Just Wonderful," where "bureaucrats that won't give me a mortgage" are the targets of her ire instead of a previous (or soon-to-be previous) boyfriend. As with Nellie McKay (another young, opinionated woman eager to make herself the maverick in her chosen style of music), the dichotomy between Allen's sweet sound and ironic lyrics could be seen as either witty or clever-clever. Still, enough of Alright, Still works -- as pure pop and on the meta level Allen aims for -- to make the album a fun, summery fling, and maybe more.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/01/2006
Label: Emi Europe Generic
UPC: 0094636702827
catalogNumber: 367028
Rank: 33037

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lily Allen   Primary Artist
John Ellis   Keyboards
Paul Bryan Farr   Guitar
Eddie "Tan Tan" Thornton   Trumpet
John Waddington   Bass
Clive Hunte   Bass
Darren Lewis   Percussion,Keyboards
Trevor Edwards   Trombone
Mark Ronson   Synthesizer,Percussion,Strings,Harp
Oliver Bayston   Keyboards
Michael Lee   Saxophone
Iyiola Babalola   Percussion,Keyboards
Paul Powell   Drums
Jonny Wimbolt Lewis   Drums
Paul Farr   Guitar
Michael Rose   Saxophone
Mark Nicholls   Guitar

Technical Credits

Earl King   Composer
Duke Reid   Composer
Marvin Isley   Composer
O'Kelly Isley   Composer
Ronald Isley   Composer
Rudolph Isley   Composer
Greg Kurstin   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Jackie Mittoo   Composer
George Atkins   Engineer
Pierre Bachelet   Composer
Mike Pelanconi   Engineer
Hervé Roy   Composer
Pablo Cook   Composer,Producer
Darren Lewis   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Blair Mackichan   Composer,Producer
Mark Ronson   Composer,Producer,Engineer,beats
Santi White   Composer
Lily Allen   Composer
Iyiola Babalola   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Darren Lewis   Composer
Clement Dodd   Composer

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