Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner

Hardly a week seems to pass without the pop gossip hungry end of the music press writing a story about Lily Allen mouthing off about something.

In the past few week's we've had her thoughts on the England football team, (like the rest of us she wasn't impressed), indie music and the Kooks, Libertines and Libertines fans especially and how Kylie probably headlining Glastonbury is not what that event should be for.

Some will accuse her of gobbing off because she knows it will get her publicity at the convenient time her album is released, but personally I don't believe this is the case. Lily Allen has been using MySpace far longer than the NME have been looking at her blog to see who she's attacking this week, and it's only because she is number one in the singles chart that it has become news worthy.

However all publicity is good publicity, or so it's said, and 'Alright Still' has been released with the media spotlight firmly pointing in her direction. Doubtless there are those hoping that she falls flat on her arse before too long.

So what about this record then?

XFM in London have been playing Lily Allen records for months, and on the face of it this might seem odd as her music may well appeal to the Kiss audience more than rock and indie kids. The dominant style on this album is reggae, in the case of songs like 'Smile', 'LDN' and 'Not Big', but there is also soul, jazz, rap and disco too.

You may already know she's the daughter of Keith Allen, of so many fames, I've chosen Fat Lez. Her family's connection to the Clash in the eighties is likely to have influenced the dub and reggae side of her sound.

The other reason Lily Allen has interested so many is her lyrics. She joins the club that includes the Streets and Arctic Monkeys with her easy to understand, strike a chord with most writing style. Her summer anthem 'Smile' deals with a cheating boyfriend coming running back, Ms Allen is ever the sympathetic.

Big city life has naturally rubbed off on her writing. Stand out track, the funky 'Friday Night' is written about the attitude problem of girls on a typical Friday night out, any Londoners who've visited Kingston or Croyden will know where she's coming from. 'LDN' was the track which got her noticed earlier this year, and talks about living in London in the twenty-first century, how it may seem a perfect place however crime and the tunnel vision of many when faced with it makes it a difficult environment and a potentially lonely world.

The song which has gained arguably the most attention prior to the release of this alb um is 'Alfie'. Directed at her brother and his drug problems, it's clear where Lily Allen stands on this issue.

'Alright Still' sounds great during the current heat wave, it's reggae backbone and collection of musically feel good tracks are perfect for summer. However 'LDN' sounded just as good during the winter and there's no reason why this shouldn't be the case for the other ten tracks.

There's a few which I can see becoming great singles to follow-up 'Smile', 'Friday Night' and another of the great reggae tracks 'Shame For You' could both do well. However in between the highpoints, are just as many songs which fail to really register with me and at times this album is a little too pop for my liking and there are tracks on here which simply don't live long enough in the memory to make you want to go back for another try.

I've heard surprise this week that she wasn't on the Mercury Music Prize short list. For me this isn't at the top of the list in terms of great records of the past twelve months, maybe it's a bit too fresh in the mind, but there are plenty better across a number of music styles. If you like 'Smile' though then this is one you really should check out and is certainly worth owning.