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Lily Allen 

Alright, Still (Capitol)

Alright is a love-loathe proposition. Plenty of listeners will be enchanted by Lily Allen's defiantly casual singing, cool-girl vocabulary and taste for hybrid pop, while others are sure to find these attributes irritating in the extreme. As for the MySpace phenom in the spotlight, she doesn't appear to care what reaction she prompts — and this languid narcissism may be her finest quality. "Smile," in which Allen dispenses revenge rhymes with flip flair rather than you-oughta-know intensity, sets the scene lyrically as well as musically. Her highly processed blend of Brit-flavored ska, lite hip-hop and quasi-soul is low in nutritional value, and filigree like the barrelhouse piano that opens "Knock 'Em Out" boasts all the authenticity of a Taco Bell gordita. Nevertheless, the disc as a whole exudes the sort of fizzy fun exemplified by "Take What You Take," which features a Day-Glo melody and chipper-yet-snarky couplets such as "I didn't even ask for your advice/You wanna keep your mouth shut." Seldom has a self-centered put-down seemed so charming.

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More by Michael Roberts

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