Acknowledged as one of the signature sounds of the summer, Lily Allen's "Smile" is hard to dislike and hard to avoid. Built on an old Coxsone reggae groove, its sly gloating at an old flame's pain comes across like a disingenuous blend of The Streets and Althea & Donna, a winning mix of street and schoolyard. There are more hit singles waiting to be lifted from Alright, Still, but taken en masse, the cumulative effect is a little top-heavy with attitude, as she rattles off put-downs of potential suitors, treacherous friends and old boyfriends, dispensing and dismissing advice with an icy, "Am I bothered?" insouciance. There's further "talk to the hand"-style disrespect in the pick-up/put-down exchanges of "Knock 'Em Out"; while the clubland contretemps of "Friday Night" seems a pointlessly antagonistic round of threats and counter-threats. Elsewhere, Allen brings a mordantly sardonic tone to the dystopian observations and personal hardships of "LDN" and "Everything's Just Wonderful", but just when you've got her tapped as an incorrigible sourpuss, she blind-sides you in "Littlest Things" with fond reminiscences of when "we'd spend the whole weekend lying in our own dirt/I was just so happy in your boxers and your T-shirt".
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