Pictures of Lily

The precocious Brit uses her second album to explore the more serious side of pop

Simon Emmet

Allen's songs never feel labored.

In 2006, Lily Allen became the first breakout star on MySpace, and even nonadolescents could figure out the appeal. Her debut album, Alright, Still, had an irresistible single called "Smile," a follow-up about a dope-smoking little brother, and just enough ska and reggae samples to hint at the existence of a precocious streak. There was a minor controversy over Allen's fondness for obscenities and Mockney (the British term for the upper-class affectation of a lower-class Cockney accent, à la Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins), but even that advanced her charm as a real girl sticking up for herself, even if...

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