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British Singer Lily Allen: Upbeat Music, Cutting Lyrics

Lily Allen uses her sweet voice in her bubbly pop music. But a close listen to the British singer's lyrics reveals a tougher, more opinionated side. On her CD Alright, Still, the MySpace sensation documents street scenes, her ex-boyfriend's inadequacies and her brother's slacker ways.

The contrast between poppy melodies and cutting lyrics is "part of the charm" of her music, Allen says.

"When you listen to it at first, it seems really happy and upbeat," says the 21-year-old, London-born artist. "When you listen to it the second or third time, you're listening to the lyrics more in-depth, and you realize it's not just mindless, boring pop music."

Allen says most people in her life are fair game, and she likens her music to a diary of her life.

"It's like a snapshot of moments of my teenage years," she says.

Alright, Still includes songs about ex-boyfriends, but Allen says the harsh lyrics aren't meant to be revenge. She says the lyrics reflect what many girls wish they had said to boyfriends who had broken up with them.

Allen says her writing process is like the jazz improvisation she learned as a child. She is not one for jotting down epiphanies, and writes mostly in the studio.

Her musical influences draw from the many albums she listens to, and include ska, hip-hop, New Orleans jazz and polkas.

"That's what making music is about," says Allen. "It's about sitting down, listening to other people's music and being inspired."

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