Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Lily Allen: Alright, Still [Capitol, 2007]
In a no-frills voice that carries a tune as easily as a schoolkid carries a backpack, the 21-year-old daughter of performing arts professionals plays a girl sticking up for herself, creating an illusion of the ordinary that seems as simple and inevitable as punk without punk shock and/or rage. Just to help out, her well-attuned producers pretend that ska was a basic pop component in an era not yet lost. Only two songs ring false: the one about her ex's penis because everybody lies about that, and the one about keeping it real because all the 21-year-olds sing that tune--and because she isn't real, really. A-