Yes that is a Living Color allusion.
Anyway, it’s pretty much prerequisite for any mp3 blog to do a post on the newest sensation from across the lake, 21 year old Miss Lily Allen. If your into music and have any on-line presence at this point you’ve already heard of her, but I’m aware that a lot of you who read this page don’t necessarily fall into those two categories and as of yet, I haven’t heard of a set date for the US release of her debut album Alright, Still. I however am not one to shy away from buying an import CD when it’s from an act I’m really feeling, so I picked it up for $25 at Amoeba this week. Do I sound disappointed with my purchase? Yeah, I thought not.
So yeah, she’s a singer who’s blowing up at the moment, but quite honestly I’d venture to say she’s as much of a personality as anything else… and personally I’m loving it. I mean for once it seems genuine and not entirely manufactured. Here’s a little insight. Back when Lily first signed on with her current label Regal Records, the suits tried to send her off to a studio and cultivate an album based off of the careful market research they conduct telling them just what the kids are into these days… apparently. Not wanting to lose the songs she had already completed (which got her signed in the first place), she decided to start uploading tracks to her MySpace where a buzz was quickly generated forcing the label to find something to release quick in order to capitalize on her popularity. Now you know how I feel about MySpace. Over there popularity is all about how accessible you are and how you come off to the kiddies.
Lily Allen – Everything’s Just Wonderful
With all this combined with her lyrical content (more on this later) and mockney accent, at this point Lily’s earned a reputation for being a rough and tumble girl from around the way. A large part of this is probably due to the fact that she’s not afraid to voice her opinions on pretty much anything, including what she thinks about some other celebrities from time to time. But the truth of the matter is I doubt that growing up she’s ever been that hard up for too much.
First of all her parents are Keith Allen (who she probably gets the accent from) and Alison Owen. While it’s true that she went to several different schools growing up and was expelled from many of them, what you may not realize is that those schools are amongst the most expensive private institutions in the UK. Before signing to her current label, Lily spent a little time with Warner Brothers Records in a deal she’ll be the first to tell you is due in no small part to the influence of her father. Just because she had a privileged upbringing however doesn’t mean she hasn’t worked hard herself to get to where she is now though. All I can say is don’t let me down Lily… hold on to your pride.
Lily Allen – Naive (The Kooks cover)
But even if she herself wasn’t so visible in the public scope, this album alone has enough personality to make you feel like you could call Miss Lily up this weekend and see if she wants to go put a couple back at the bar. With her brutally honest lyrics presented over a backdrop of catchy pop instrumentation that’s staggeringly bright and cheery, I’m sure a lot of casual listeners won’t realize exactly what’s going on in these songs. Like Andre 3000 said “ya’ll don’t hear me, ya’ll just wanna dance”. Let’s break it down here.
A little over ten words into the first cut this sassy little thing sets the tone with the first f-bomb. From there song topics include turning down advances at the pub, picking fights at the club, the lack of endowment of an ex boyfriend, the seedier elements of London’s daily street activity, lack of motivation in her stoner brother, and two-faced coke addicts who pretend to be her friend. Oh, and let’s not forget the track that’s comprised of samples from a soft-core porn soundtrack (Of course I wonder how much of that is producer Mark Ronson‘s doing). Let’s just say don’t expect to be picking up this album at your local Walmart anytime soon since Lily has stated she has no plans to record an edited or revised version of the album. I can see the hordes of angry conservative soccer moms now.
Hey Lils, keep doing your thing. At this point it doesn’t really matter because you’ve already got a increasingly obsessed fan-base who love what your doing, and your record label is eating it up. While visiting her website to do research for this post I was prompted to fill out one of those marketing questionnaires asking me all of the standard questions about where I hear about and buy my music… blah, blah , blah. All this just so I might be able to grab that extra exclusive remix, bonus track, video footage or ring-tone. In the space where I was prompted to fill in the blank for what other kind of bonus material I would like to see, it took all the restraint I had not to write “nudie pics”. Hey, you never know unless you ask right?
Not that there’s a lack of fully clothed photos of our little darling to be found all over the place. A lot of which for some reason seem to feature her tongue on prominent display. Hey, I’m not complaining.
In closing I have to say I’m feeling this girl for real. Before anything else I can tell she’s all about the music based not only on her list of influences, but her choice of samples and the way she talks about herself in interviews. I’m wondering if she actually picked the tracks to include on the mixtapes streamed through her websites media player. She’s seems to be very conscious of the image and message she portrays not only in her music, but also as a public personality (even if she admits to some learning mistakes that she makes in that regard). I mean seriously I haven’t felt so unashamed to be into something this blatantly pop oriented since Rocksteady by No Doubt. (I’m still not sure people realize how deep they got with the producers and guest appearances they pulled out for that album.)
Anyway here’s a couple more things you should check out to feed your Lily fever.
Lily Allen – Shame For You The Kooks – Naive
Lily actually went to school with Luke Pritchard from the band.
Also be sure to head over to Music Like Dirt where they’ve compiled a mix of the songs sampled on the album called Alright, Steal . You might find a new appreciation for old school reggae and ska in the process. (While you’re over there be sure to grab some of that stuff from The Good, The Bad, and The Queen). Tell ’em we sent ya’.
If you feel like a scavenger hunt see if you can find a download of her parody of 50 Cent’s Window Shopper called Nann You’re a Window Shopper.
Finally for those of you who are sleeping here’s some heat from Mark Ronson.
Mark Ronson feat. Ghostface Killah and Nate Dog – Ooh Wee
Also keep an eye out for his cover of Radiohead’s Just, with Alex Greenwald. His new album also features a Kaiser Chief’s cover with Lily.