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Alright, Still 

Lily Allen

Lily Allen is the British version of Gwen Stefani, all perky cuteness and sly fashion sense. Her debut single, "Smile," is undeniably sharp, sampling Jamaican organist Jackie Mittoo to superior effect. On "Littlest Things," she interpolates Cat Stevens' "Wild World," and even parodies 50 Cent's "Window Shopper" for her "Nan, You're a Window Shopper." She conscripts diary-like lyrics that make note of street scenes ("LDN") and wanksta boyfriends ("Not Big," where she sings, "Oh, how would it make you feel if I said you never made me come/In the year-and-a-half that we spent together, yeah I never really had much fun").

While well-made, Alright, Still is a decidedly pop album, albeit a smart one with cool ska and garage beats. It sounds airy and privileged, the aural equivalent of Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. Allen's princess-like attitude will rub some the wrong way, but her sharp wordplay ultimately redeems this modest delight.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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