But ultimately, Allen's debut is just a great dance record. Like many Brits growing up in the '90s, she listened to a lot of reggae, ska, and Britpop (as well as some T. Rex and Kate Bush). And these form the foundation of such tracks as "Smile," a ska groove bouncing underneath a baroque arrangement full of girly pianos and soft horns, all shot through with Allen's wiseass feminine mystique.
Allen conquered her home turf nearly a year ago, and she's now striving to do the same here. And though she's an unconventional pop diva by our standards, Allen is a welcome break from the half-naked fembots mindlessly gyrating on TRL.