Lily Allen

B000kg5eqe01_aa240_sclzzzzzzz_I previously noted the live Lily Allen performances I uploaded to You Tube led to my DMCA takedown notice. But I never followed up with the singer involved; this post will clarify the omission.

Lily Allen had one of the UK’s hottest albums last year, taking Britain by storm in summer 2006 with her debut album Alright, Still reaching No. 2 on the U.K. Album charts, with her first U.K. single, "Smile," topping the U.K. Airplay chart for six weeks in a row. On first listen, the music sounds like a cross between bubble gum pop and Reggae. But upon closer listening, one hears sharp lyrics and a feisty wit. She took at different route than Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill. Instead of bitter invective, Allen relies on her acid tongue and a sly taste for payback.

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Lily Allen

Below are the videos that You Tube took down; You can download the files and play them at your leisure

LDN.QT Video

Smile.QT Video





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  1. Lauriston commented on Feb 20

    Lily’s music is luvly, nice and easy to listen to. The first time I heard it I thought she was from somewhere in the Caribbean. It must be the sunshine in her voice!

  2. Jon H commented on Feb 21

    I love ‘Alfie’, the song about her little brother. I’ve wondered if she uses pitch-correction software to put the quaver in her voice on that, or if she does it herself.

  3. My1ambition commented on Feb 21

    Barry, I hate doing this in middle of other posts but there happens to be fantastic article on Gold on Mish’s blog recently, regarding whether or not it stands as a real inflation hedge.

    Talk about questioning the conventional wisdom.

  4. jswede commented on Feb 21

    Lily ain’t no Amy Winehouse.

  5. DG commented on Feb 22

    Just saw her in concert here in NYC. Fun, but its clear she’s an amateur.

  6. Mikey commented on Feb 27

    A Pop Star With Cheek. And Bite.

    Lily Allen is a newly minted British pop star, a MySpace hero with 57,000 virtual friends, and the symbol of a new, swaggeringly confident young woman. But that doesn’t mean that this 21-year-old gets any special treatment at home, where she lives with her mom and a baby brother she has immortalized in song as a stoner wastrel in a ”stupid fitted cap.”

    ”I was doing international phoners this morning, and my mum kept clomping around in her big black shoes,” Ms. Allen complained. ”I was like, ‘Mom — I’m on Australian radio, leave me alone!,’ and she didn’t even care.” Last week Ms. Allen’s ska-inflected, sharply written and hilariously bratty debut album, ”Alright, Still,” entered the British pop chart at No. 2, with a healthy 73,000 copies sold. (It has since gone gold, with more than 100,000 sold.)

    The album followed a No. 1 single, ”Smile,” a lilting reggae confection that sounds so sunny on first listen that it is shocking to realize that it is a vengeful goodbye to a contrite cheater. ”At first when I see you cry/ Yeah, it makes me smile,” Ms. Allen sings in her bright, innocent soprano. In the video she hires thugs to beat up the lad, trash his apartment and — horror of horrors — scratch his vinyl records. When he becomes a sniveling mess, she tenderly consoles him. Then she doses him with laxatives.

    Compared with other characters on the album, he gets off easy. Woe is the man who inspired ”Not Big,” a slam against a lover who is ”rubbish in bed.” Ms. Allen has apparently mined a lot of material from what she calls ”two major relationships and one not-so-major relationship.”

    ”No boy’s ever done anything that crazy to me,” she said, speaking via cellphone as she rode to a hotel in Belgium. ”I think I do all the crazy things, and that’s why they end up leaving me.” She giggled hysterically.

    Ms. Allen is one of the oddest female artists to emerge in years. She is obsessed with black music, from rock-steady to Jay-Z, but she seems blithely unconcerned with issues of authenticity and appropriation. She sings of shoving girls around at clubs, but has pictures of cute puppies on her blog. She is a pretty, petite woman whose trademark outfit — a vintage evening dress accessorized with flashy sneakers, a 60’s updo, heavy eyeliner, door-knocker earrings and gold chains — recalls Gwen Stefani in the way it stylishly synthesizes a dizzying array of influences. She looks so traditionally feminine that her foul mouth and bellicose nature are amusing surprises.

    Like a cross between Oasis in its trash-talking heyday and a beef-starting American rapper, she loves to needle bigger stars. She saves most of her vitriol for male rockers, who cannot fire back without looking like lass-bashing bullies. She recently raised hackles by declaring guitar rock boring, and mocks old ladies in ”Nan, You’re a Window Shopper,” a reggae spoof of a 50 Cent song.

    ”I just can’t keep my mouth shut,” she said. ”I don’t really mean to offend anyone. I think I say things that, if I weren’t in the public eye, no one would bat an eyelash at.” During the interview she seemed shy and unconfrontational, bursting into nervous laughter at innocuous questions like ”Why are you in Belgium?”

    Her feud-mongering has generated loads of news media coverage, which has helped spur her success in Britain. Now Capitol Records has announced that it will release her album in the United States this February. ”Lily is compelling on so many levels,” said Andy Slater, the label’s president and chief executive. ”She clearly has a point of view, and she’s the first artist I’ve seen this year that offers a sort of rally cry for women under 25.”

    In their MySpace ”friends comments,” Ms. Allen’s female supporters have praised her rebelliousness (she says she shared her demos on the site despite her label’s concerns); her accessibility (she maintains her own page and often e-mails fans); and her regular-girl problems (she is not as skinny as Kate Moss).

    Catchy and timelessly summery, ”Alright, Still” lacks the voice-of-a-generation heft of the Arctic Monkeys’ ”Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not,” another recent British smash built on MySpace buzz. She offers a milquetoast social critique on the calypso track ”LDN” (text-message shorthand for ”London”): In her hometown, ”Everything seems nice/ But if you look twice/ It’s all lies.”

    But Ms. Allen does capture a sense of universal teenage angst with her cinematic tales of bad breakups, club spats and backstabbing friends. She symbolizes a new blogging-age, middle-class girl: cockily ambitious, skeptical yet enthusiastic, technically savvy, musically open, obsessed with public expression and ready to fight back.

    ”She appeals to so many different people,” said Malik Meer, an editor at NME, the British music weekly, which recently featured her on its cover. ”She’s young and female, a bit urban and street, but also fashiony. She’s very now.”

    Ms. Allen’s revenge-crazed frontwould grow insufferable if it were not relieved by her lost-girl sadness. Songs like the sarcastic swinging 60’s romp ”Everything’s Just Wonderful” relay a sense that darkness lurks below every cheery surface. Ms. Allen has alluded to a chaotic childhood in interviews, which might explain her hellfire response to rejection. ”Everything was quite comfortable, but everyone was mental,” she told a British newspaper.

    She is the daughter of a film-producer mother and a comedian father (Keith Allen, a scenester friend to many rock stars). They split when she was 4. She has said that she changed schools more than a dozen times, became a raver, dropped out and ended up selling Ecstasy in Ibiza when she was 15. On the island she met an A & R representative who introduced her to the duo Future Cut, who later helped write and produced half of her debut.

    This past November, while signed to the Regal/Parlophone label, she started her MySpace page and uploaded some demo tracks and party-ready mix tapes (one seamlessly incorporates Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Rod Stewart and yodeling). She says that she did not have a grand strategy, that she was mostly impatient for people to hear her music.

    ”I knew who Arctic Monkeys were and that they had grown a following through the Internet, but I didn’t know it was on MySpace,” Ms. Allen said. ”I didn’t even really know what it was.”

    The response was so immediately overwhelming that the label moved up her album release date. Now Ms. Allen is too busy even to update her blog. ”My page is in a really bad state at the moment,” she said with a sigh. ”There are 15,000 people waiting to be approved as friends. It’s just too much.”

    ”Alright, Still” has a broad appeal: to people who like sugary, well-made pop, and to people who won’t admit they love sugary, well-made pop unless it comes with a veneer of cutting-edge cool. Ms. Allen’s instant success has earned the inevitable backlash. A rapper recorded the ”Smile” parody ”Vile” (the video involves sock puppets). And Ms. Allen has been slammed for coasting on her father’s fame, for gentrifying reggae, for being anti-male, for aping the British rapper Mike Skinner of the Streets and for feigning a working-class, East London accent.

    ”It’s stupid, because I lived in London my whole life,” she said irately. ”Other people from England sing in an American accent, and that’s 3,000 miles away. I have a more real accent than they do. East London is five miles down the road.”

    When asked what she thinks of another white girl reggae singer — Paris Hilton, the ”Stars Are Blind” diva — Ms. Allen was uncharacteristically cautious: ”Um no comment.”


    The 21-year-old Lily Allen, pronounced by NME “the archetypal singer-songwriter for the iPod generation,” took Britain by storm in summer 2006 with her debut album Alright, Still rocketing onto the U.K. Album chart at No. 2 and her first U.K. single, “Smile,” topping the U.K. Airplay chart for six weeks in a row. Now she’s set her sights on America–and early reports indicate she won’t exactly be flying under the radar here either. “She symbolizes a new blogging-age, middle-class girl: cockily ambitious, skeptical yet enthusiastic, technically savvy, musically open, obsessed with public expression and ready to fight back,” said The New York Times in a feature on Lily.

    Allen was born in Hammersmith, a borough in Greater London, and grew up all over London – Shepherds Bush, Bloomsbury, Islington. “I went to 13 different schools so I never had time to make enduring friendships. Music became a lifeline to me. I listened to punk, ska and reggae, courtesy of my parents’ record collections,” she says, which explains why, in addition to numerous up-and-coming dance artists, she counts The Specials, T. Rex, The Slits, and Blondie as favorites.

    “I got expelled from various schools and was sent to boarding school as they thought it would be a restraining influence, but I ran away when I was 14,” she recalls. “It was obvious I didn’t like authority.” Although she dropped out of school, Allen continued to have a voracious appetite for books and music. “I always felt I couldn’t articulate my feelings as much as I wanted to. Books and music helped me do that,” she says. “I started to feel like I could have a voice.”

    Lily’s incisive lyrical observations belie her years. “With the kind of music I do you have to be direct and quite literal,” she says. “I don’t play an instrument, which really makes me focus on the vocal melody, and the lyrics are incredibly important to me. I don’t want to be part of a scene – the whole idea of that makes me feel sick – and most of the music I listen to is by outsider figures, which is where I feel happiest.”

    There was a little old lady who was walking down the road She was struggling with bags from Tesco There were people in the city having lunch in the park I believe that is called alfresco Then a kid came along to offer a hand But before she had time to accept it Hits her over the head, doesn’t care if she’s dead ‘Cause he’s got all her jewelry and wallet (from “LDN”)

    In November 2005, Allen started posting tracks on her MySpace site to see what fans thought of them. “Since then it’s gone mad,” she says. (Her songs have received over five million total plays to date.) “The online support I got for my music grew quickly, then the next thrill was hearing it on the radio. The reaction has been so positive it’s left me reeling a bit. But I’m happy and I know the songs can live up to people’s expectations.”

    And indeed they have. “Through and through, it sounds like part Millie Small, part Gwen Stefani, part Blondie, without ever really sounding much like anything other than Allen’s own mash-up of cool,” said Rolling Stone. The New Yorker has praised her “delightful, ska-inflected songs” and Pitchfork said “Alright, Still isn’t anything else but a fantastic success. Not only does Allen deliver on the musical promise hinted at in her MySpace demos, she also acquits herself as a genuine personality with wit and attitude to spare.”

    Allen’s cheeky, street-smart observations imbue Alright, Still with an unerringly modern female point-of-view. On “Smile,” Lily admits to feeling guilty – but not that guilty – for feeling good when an ex-boyfriend cries because she won’t give it another go. Perhaps he shouldn’t have slept with her neighbor. On “Knock ‘Em Out,” a lame pick-up line is met with a litany of bogus reasons (ranging from various sexually transmitted diseases to a house fire) why “it’s not gonna happen/not in a million years.” And while the chorus of “LDN” brims with unabashed affection for London, the verses are a deft social commentary exposing the warts of a town intent on keeping up appearances. Cynicism and a sunny outlook aren’t mutually exclusive in Allen’s world, which goes a long way towards explaining her unbridled confidence and contagious joie de vivre. The world is still her oyster – even if it was dredged from murky waters.

    Published: August 5, 2006

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