Lily Allen, credible British pop-tart du jour, begins her assault on America with the poptastic "Smile." While I was always taught that finding pleasure in the pain of others is bad, her soft and studied vocals reveal a seductive innocence that betrays the devilish nature of the lyrics. The production is tight enough that it could have fit perfectly on the most recent Natasha Bedingfield record.
For clubland, two remixes have surfaced - the street cred-seeking Gutter mix, which toughens up the sound with an urban edge, and the flat out insane drum and bass mix by the Soundboys. The edginess of Lily's voice makes the d&b mix work in ways that most pop songs couldn't.
And yes, I loved the record and artist, until I mistakenly played the video at the club. Ouch, talk about a mean-spirited video that will alienate any sort of club fan base she might discover. In the video, Lily's friends beat up her ex-boyfriend. Then, she meets him for a date where she drugs him while her friends trash his apartment, destroy his furniture, wreck his clothing, and worst of all - scratch his vinyl. The poor sap returns home and thinks his precious vinyl is safe since it is locked in his record box. Later at the club spinning, he realizes too late that his evil ex-girlfriend's criminal posse has destroyed his records.
Maybe as a DJ, I am taking the video too seriously because it's cutting too close to my personal livelihood, but lets change roles. Let's say a male artist had released the same video - with friends beating up his ex-girlfriend, trashing her living space, drugging her and destroying her possessions. He would be branded as violent and totally shunned by everyone. Now let's exchange genders with ethnicity or racial persuasion, get the picture?
Yes, Lily Allen is a good singer. She is a good writer and incredibly talented, but as they say on Project Runway, I strongly question her taste level.