Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Amy Winehouse: Lily Allen with Cred

They're young and beautiful. Let's start alphabetically.

One of the most dynamic and talented young artists to hit the music scene recently is Lily Allen.

Daughter of actor Keith Allen and producer Alison Owen, Lily had a very strange showbiz upbringing, attending 13 schools during her childhood including Bedales, where my brother went. Her divorced mother had several boyfriends including Harry Enfield, who lived with them for a while when she was growing up.

With such a bohemian upbringing, it's no surprise that the talented Lily hit the music scene.

However, she shrugged off the conventional approach and rejected the opportunities available to her (the ones struggling artists would kill for, all through her family showbiz connections) and instead insisted on producing her own songs.

But this ungrateful attitude is probably what saved Lily from being a pop-product also ran and launched her into the big time, with a series of songs she'd written catching the attention of UK music publication NME through her myspace site.

Witty, clever, funny and catchy, Lily Allen's songs are a refreshing breakout from an increasingly manufactured diet of girl-groups and boy-bands being thrust down our throats by unscrupulous types like Simon Cowell.

The thing is, though... Lily Allen has no cred.

With her mockney accent and bull terrier (who got kidnapped recently, poor thing) Lily Allen tries to talk tough with stories of being a drug dealer and 'sad stories about her childhood.'

But the fact is, she's a showbiz brat who went to Bedales, so her working class pretentions simply don't ring true. That doesn't detract from the fact that she's an incredibly talented artist, but when she starts telling newspapers that Madonna: "might have meant something once but I don't know many people my age who care..." she comes across as... Well, a bit snotty.

On the other hand, there's Amy Winehouse.

Lily Allen is the skinny posh one. Amy Winehouse is the full figured Jewish one. Growing up in a family of jazz musicians, Amy Winehouse started singing professionally at 16 after being discovered by soul singer Tyler James.

Where Lily Allen has a nice voice and unique talent, Amy Winehouse has the most soulful voice since Aretha Franklin... Seriously, is there no note this girl can't make vibrate deep within her expansive lungs and then exhale onto us with husky longing?

Where I've complained about Lily Allen being a bit of an (incredibly talented) mockney fraud, Amy Winehouse seems to be the ultimate little white Jewish princess, who just happens to have the most incredible set of lungs on her. When I first heard her song Rehab, on Capital Gold of all places, I honestly thought I was listening to Aretha.

But she sings soul. Her videos feature her slinking through rooms of black sax players. Her voice basically puts a reality to Frank and his bodies when they sang: "Birth of the blues..."

Is she a fraud? Is she a fake? Is she a cute Jewish girl pretending to be a soul queen?

I don't know. There's something amazing about her. And there are no pretensions about Amy Winehouse. She's unabashedly the little Jewish girl with the amazing voice and that's why I think she has the edge on Lily Allen.

They're both amazing. But Amy Winehouse? She's Lily Allen with cred.


Anonymous said...

what a load of total dribble.

Roland Hulme said...

Care to elaborate?

Anonymous said...

'Lily Allen is the skinny posh one. Amy Winehouse is the full figured'
I know this an old post, but where have you been living....
Amy winehouse full figured? sarcastic?
seen her lately........infact whe nrehab came out she was already skinny, Lily Allen is not fat but I wouldnt call her skinny either.
Size 10/12.
And was for Lily being incredibly talented......not sure.maybe just talented