Release Date: Feb 10, 2009
Record label: Capitol
Genre(s): Rock, Pop
It's been two-and-a-half years since the release of Allen's 2.5 million-selling debut album Alright, Still. The girl exploded onto a grateful pop scene like a female Mike Skinner with catchier tunes, spawned a slew of largely dreadful snotty girl imitators... and then appeared to spend two years trying to be Jade Goody. Those of us who suspected she was one of the great pop singers and lyricists of her age began to wonder if she was too busy being yet another embarrassing celebrity to do the hard work of making music again.
Like many a bright pop star before her, Allen is feeling a little bit older than her 23 years, knowing that the landscape of her life is changing, and she's dreading her 30s, which still feel very far away. Lily doesn't state this outright, of course: she puts it into the character sketch of "22," just like how she deals with the blizzard of cocaine and pills on "Everyone's at It," registering her sneering disdain for a social scene she's outgrowing yet not quite ready to leave behind. Far from being a crutch, this narrative distancing is Lily's strength: unlike so many of her too-sensitive peers, she doesn't indiscriminately spill emotions onto the page, she picks her targets, choosing to reveal personal secrets we already know -- tellingly, she never addresses her 2008 miscarriage, but happily serves up her dysfunctional relationships with her parents, something that has provided endless column inches in gossip rags.
Recently, the broadcaster Steve Lamacq asked a pertinent question about the commercial potential of 2009's hotly-tipped electro-pop singer songwriters. "How much do they want to become big, accessible, glitzy, Heat-magazine-championed pop stars?" he pondered. "Do you really want to be this year's Lily Allen, in the London Paper every night?" His query was swiftly answered by the arrival of Lady GaGa, a woman prepared to walk around London in January in her knickers if it'll get her in the tabloids.
When she first arrived Stateside in a blaze of MySpace-viral glory back in 2006, Brit import Lily Allen seemed like the perfect antidote to America’s vacuous top 40 sausage factory. Her look — candy-colored prom gowns, hightops, and Cockney-from-the-block bling — was as deliciously incongruous as her sound: sunny, ska-flavored ditties about stoned siblings and anatomically inadequate boyfriends. But as another pop rebel, Cyndi Lauper, once wisely said, money (and fame, and blogs, and tabloids…) changes everything.
Review Summary: It's Not Me, It's You lives and dies by Lily Allen's charisma. Thankfully she has a lot of it.Given the chance I would most certainly kidnap Lily Allen. Now I'm not normally one to fawn over sometimes frumpy British girls, but from her third nipple to her well documented stances on drugs and alcohol, I seem to be constantly fascinated by her.
A lot of people are going to love this album – and I get why. On the one hand, Lily Allen is fresh, sassy, playful, and provocative in ways so many pop divas could never hope to be. But I’m torn. When I first heard Smile, I loved it. Allen is funny, smart, and doesn’t seem to take herself too ….
Lily Allen, eh? It’s been quite the few years. Her early demos piqued the attention of the nation’s youth via MySpace through their mischievous and matter-of-fact tone, and when ‘Smile’ eventually hit, it buffeted her into the upper echelons of British pop royalty with nary a look back. And why not? Alright, Still was a breath of fresh air in an increasingly moribund "pop" landscape.
There's a vicious rumour going around that Lily Allen didn't have anything to do with the music on her latest release, but listen closely for the distinctive plink of the glockenspiel on the song Back To The Start - that's Allen, according to the tiny print in the sleeve credits. [rssbreak] Of course, all the guitars, keyboards, programming and just about everything else you'll hear that's not Allen's coy voice on the aptly titled It's Not Me, It's You is contributed by the album's producer and engineer, Greg Kurstin (of the Bird and the Bee, see below), who also co-writes all of Allen's songs. Some might argue that that makes her nothing more than a potty-mouthed Natasha Bedingfield, and that's not totally unreasonable.
For no greater reason than timing, Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse may forever be linked. Two raven-haired, tart-tongued, substance-loving ladies who became media darlings/targets in the UK (and subsequently the US) within a few months of each other, their actual backgrounds and aesthetic styles are sharply different, despite occasionally sharing a producer (Mark Ronson). Nevertheless, both became headline-snagging tabloid fixtures, known more (at least in the US) for their antics than their music.
Lily Allen: It’s Not You, It’s MeSpunky Brit combines heavy-handed production and immature lyricstypes of sarcastic wisdom and off-handed expletives invoked throughout Lily Allen's sophomore release, It’s Not Me, It's You. It's the type that is enough for any teenage girl to mold her entire year around, but drops like hollow bullets for anyone who has moved out of their parents’ house and had their heart broken more than once. A line like, “Life’s about film stars and less about mothers / it’s all about fast cars and passing each other / but it doesn’t matter ‘cause I’m packing plastic,” from “The Fear,” exercises a girl’s right to spend a few pounds when things get too serious.