Lilly Allen vs. Paris Hilton

January 21, 2008

Lilly and ParisSo Flava Dave and I were out drinking the other night and, invariably, a heated debate sprang up. No one knows exactly how these things happen, but one of us makes a bold statement and the other responds that the statement-maker is an idiot.

So the bold statement I made – I think I made the statement, but the fog of beer clouds some of the arguments details – was that I would much rather hear Paris Hilton’s album “Paris” than Lilly Allen’s “Alright, Still” album. As if it weren’t bad enough that we were discussing the music of pop tarts, we both had deep deated opinions about each pop tart.

Which leads us to this debate: Who would you rather listen to, Paris Hilton or Lilly Allen? Discuss.

Flinchbot Says: I have to go with Ms. Hilton here. (And yes, I’ve listened to both albums several times). Maybe it’s that the “Paris” album has the bigger booming beats. Perhaps I like it more because the beats are more banging. Or maybe it’s because Paris Hilton’s personal life is a legitimate mess while Lilly Allen is just a whiney kid who says things to be sardonic.Look, Paris has done a sex tape, mounds of coke, jail time…lord knows what. So when she puts out an album of pop silliness you can at least feel that there may be something she is trying to get off her chest (Other than Rick Salomon’s spooge). This album isn’t the work of some bratty kid. It’s the album of someone who, for better or worse, has actually done the things that Lilly Allen secretly wishes she could do but she’s not bad ass enough to do it.

And the music reflects this opinion of mine. Lilly Allen’s album is reggae-lite, the kind of reggae that UB40 pawned off on a far-too easily impressed musical landscape. You listen to the weak reggae and ska lilts throughout the album and if you’re not bored yet by song 5 then you either aren’t paying attention or you are a sucker for reggae-lite. Meanwhile, Paris also mined the caribbean vibe for her album (at least on lead single “Stars Are Blind”) but also pumped up the dance floor beats an extra notch or 6. Pumping up the beats doesn’t inherently make the music better but it makes the album better for what it is: A throwaway summer pop record to be played on sunny days while cruising down the highway with the windows rolled down. You just have to have the beats and this album fits that need neatly.

The other night I ended at a bar that was offering Karaoke. Some chick got up and limped through a tepid version of “Stars Are Blind”. Who knew you could karaoke Paris?

Kate NashWhile Lilly Allen’s album certainly has it’s moments (and it’s worst songs are better than Paris’ worst songs) it’s a tad boring on the whole. Listening to the whole thing sure takes concentration. Listening to Paris’ album all the way through is a tad easier, because when I get bored with it, I can always imagine her naked – not that much imagination is needed there.

So anyway, I’d much rather listen to Paris over Lilly Allen. Except right now, I really want to hear that Kate Nash album. It shouldn’t take much to be better then either Paris or Lilly.

FlavaDave Says: Okay, a few things before I start:1) Welcome back. It has been awhile.

2) Do you realize that we are getting over 1,500 hits a week? Who is reading our blog? If you are out there, leave a comment or something.

As for the subject at hand, this is impossible for me to argue. Again, I offer two reasons:

1) I have absolutely nothing interesting to say about Paris Hilton. Zero.

2) I’ve never heard Paris Hilton’s music.

So I can hear the retort already: How can I criticize something I am ignorant of? And you know what, hypothetical retort? You’re right. I can’t.

But I would like to remind everyone of something: We are not discussing who is the better artist. We are discussing who we would rather listen to.

And in light of this fact, the answer is Lilly Allen. But really, it could be anybody.

Even with the most vapid musical artists, curiosity is part of the equation. I wonder what Timberlake is like in real life? I wonder what Kelly Clarkson looks like naked (glorious, I suspect)? Is Mariah Carey batshit insane?

But I have no interest in Paris Hilton. How could anybody? Without trying, I know her name, where she’s from, what she does both professionally and for recreation, who her friends are, likes and dislikes, etc. I never wanted to know, but I do by cultural osmosis. I’ve even seen her naked and having sex. So what could I possibly want to know about her?

So Lilly Allen wins by “de-fault! de-fault! de-fault!” because I at least want to nail her (and therefore have, at minimum, an inkling of interest in her music, in case I meet her).

But I’ll spend a paragraph defending her music because it is actually really good.

The sound is superb. Future mega-producer Mark Ronson really is on his game with this one. Calling it “reggae-lite” is erroneous. While two of her singles (“Smile” and “LDN”) are reggae influenced, the sound of the album is a bit broader. “Knock-Em Out” has a piano sample that sounds like the ending to the “Blossom” theme song; “Take What You Take” sounds like sugar-pop U2; and the album’s best song, “Everything’s Just Wonderful”, sounds like glossed-up 60’s pop (the kind of thing Austin Powers might dress up in crushed velvet to go-go dance to). The lyrics, while not ground breaking or deep, are at least witty. Lyrically topics like her lament for her loser brother (who sure sounds like a lot of guys I know) and being pissed because her bad credit blocks her from apartments she could easily afford are slightly outside the typical pop playbook. Combining the fun hooks with unconventional lyrical topics and smart production, and you get an excellent excuse for music snobs like me to indulge in some pop candy.

Oh, and because I work in a record store, just like “Lilly vs. Paris” I win by default.