Lily Allen — “LDN”

Released: 9.25.06

Peak: Did not chart

A blithe rumination on both the effects of mood on perspective and the Potemkin-deep charms of gentrification, Allen’s first single sliced through the faux prosperity of the times with a cheery, cheeky irony. If the chin-up revenge fantasy “Smile” is a bubblier “Since U Been Gone,” kicking some slob of an ex when he’s down, “LDN” targets broader duplicities. Depending on your attitude, “Everything seems nice/ But if you look twice/ You can see it’s all lies” stands as a fair epitaph for urban life in the ’00s, or for pop music in general.

Mark Ronson may have gotten the publicity for pulling together Alright Still, Allen’s debut album, but credit’s due Future Cut, a.k.a. drum ‘n’ bass producers Darren Lewis and Tunde Babalola. The duo sampled Lord Kitchener’s “London Is The Place For Me,” and calypso’s carnivalesque satire jibes well with Allen’s ironies. She’s always less bitchy than bratty, as demonstrated in the “LDN” video, where she annoys a “Tough Grade,” record clerk with her exaggerated trainspotting.

Allen was touted as among the first of MySpace’s gifts to pop, but she was an internet-era heroine in a deeper sense as well. Just as jilted dudes could post nude pics of their exes, the exes could lash back with exaggerated bad-sex anecdotes. And so, she quickly inspired the sort of weird backlash that the anonymous nature of online commenting facilitates. As for what makes otherwise smart people hate her, I believe has a bit to do with her dad being a shitty comic and a lot to do with the fact that she’s a mouthy young woman. I’m no Anglophile, but we should have such smart publicity whores in our country.

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