Song of the Day #827: ‘Smile’ – Lily Allen

Top Ten Female Vocalists – #10 – Lily Allen

Following two weeks of my favorite male vocalists, I’m now turning my attention to the women. Same rules apply… these are artists whose voices are one of the main reasons I listen to them.

You won’t see somebody like Lucinda Williams here, even though she’s one of my favorite artists and I love the way she sings her songs… her voice isn’t a big enough part of what makes her special to me.

I found this list far easier than the male list to compile. I rattled the ten women featured here off the top of my head in seconds, while I had to struggle to come up with ten men. And I’m leaving women off of this list who I thought would have made it, but the competition was too stiff.

Coming in at #10 is Lily Allen and, as I’ve made clear every time I’ve posted one of her songs on this blog, this is entirely due to her accent. I just love listening to that Cockney attitude bull through every line. Allen has a pretty voice apart from that, but it wouldn’t be all that distinguishable from her counterparts were it not for her accent.

Here, in her first (and biggest) hit, she revels in her ex’s misery and sounds just great doing it.

When you first left me I was wanting more
But you were fucking that girl next door, what ja do that for?
When you first left me I didn’t know what to say
I never been on my own that way, just sat by myself all day

I was so lost back then
But with a little help from my friends
I found a light in the tunnel at the end
Now you’re calling me up on the phone
So you can have a little whine and a moan
And it’s only because you’re feeling alone

At first, when I see you cry,
it makes me smile, it makes me smile.
At worst, I feel bad for a while,
But then I just smile,
I go ahead and smile.

Whenever you see me you say that you want me back
And I tell you it don’t mean jack, no it don’t mean jack
I couldn’t stop laughing, no I just couldn’t help myself
See you messed up my mental health, I was quite unwell

I was so lost back then
But with a little help from my friends
I found a light in the tunnel at the end
An’ now you’re calling me up on the phone
So you can have a little whine and a moan
An’ it’s only because you’re feeling alone

At first when I see you cry,
It makes me smile, it makes me smile
At worst I feel bad for a while,
But then I just smile, I go ahead and smile

At first when I see you cry, (when I see you cry)
it makes me smile, it makes me smile (it makes me smile)
At worst I feel bad for a while, (I feel bad for a while)
But then I just smile ( But then I just smile, I go ahead and smile…)

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #827: ‘Smile’ – Lily Allen

  1. Amy says:

    I guessed this one correctly 🙂 I’ll be curious to see if any of the other singers from the “British invasion” make the list. One would (will) make mine.

    This is a charming song, one which very much shows off what it is you like about Allen’s voice. I look forward to seeing which other nine artists make the cut.

    That said, I still don’t completely “get” your criteria. How could one of the reasons you consistenly rank Lucinda Williams as one of your favorite artists not be her voice? That’s where you lose me. Still, I’m very curious to see who will.

  2. Clay says:

    I love Lucinda Williams primarily for her songwriting. Her voice, frankly, can be a bit annoying at times. Often it’s just perfect for whatever it is she’s singing, but it’s not one of the main reasons I listen to her.

  3. Dana says:

    Funny that you so easily could come up with your 10 favorite female vocalists, but a harder time with the men. I have the opposite problem,

    I can see the attraction to Allen’s vocal style, and this is a charming song to show it off. I’m not familiar enough with her work overall to say whether her vocals would consistently be appealing, but, on this song, I get it.

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