Single: Lily Allen "Smile"
Stream the tracks from Alright Still via Myspace
Play it: The Soul Brothers "Free Soul" (sampled for Lily Allen's "Smile")
Yesterday it was announced that Lily Allen's debut single, "Smile", made it to #1 in the UK - first of many to come, I'm sure. The single reached #13 on downloads alone the week prior, and this past week when it officially released, stores had trouble keeping it on the shelves (I myself bought one from the famous Rough Trade Record shop in Covent Garden, where she'll be appearing July 17th in conjunction with her full-length debut release, Alright Still.) [UPDATE: Lily's Myspace page is streaming the album free for a limited time.]
Fittingly enough, the song (as well as her tracks "LDN" and "Knock 'em Out") became our soundtrack of driving across the UK. You see our son Eli has this odd fascination with Lily and her voice was like a pacifier for him when he became frustrated at being in the car. Radio 1 obliged us often by playing "Smile" and when there was too long of a gap between Lily (and Eli's other fave, Nelly Furtado's "Maneater,") we'd pop in our mix I'd brought which had three Lily tracks on it. Last Monday, Lily appeared on Radio 1's "Live Lounge" and performed both "Smile" and a cover of The Kooks "Naive" (yet to make it across the pond.) We played it back via online while in London and Eli danced and crawled up to touch Lily. It was a moment that perhaps only my wife and I (and maybe Lily) would find touching, but I had to share, nonetheless.
"Smile" samples an instrumental ("Free Soul") from Jamaican Jackie Mittoo's 60's outfit The Soul Brothers. Mittoo and his group helped bridge the transition between Ska and Rocksteady, as the band featured ex-Skatalites members branching out their sound. Mitoo was the "Keyboard King" of legendary Studio One, and his piano tinkles in the sample from "Free Soul" could be considered the key ingredient to the underlying charm of Lily Allen's "Smile."
Here's a recent Lily Allen performance of "Smile" on Top of the Pops:
Top of the Pops performance
First television interview
UK video for "Smile"
Lily Plays the Field (The Age interview)
Lily Allen admits teenage years are a blur of drink and drugs (Fametastic)
tags: music, lily allen, jackie mittoo, uk, london, travel, ska, soul brothers