January 20, 2009

Review: Lily Allen's It's Not Me, It's You



Lily Allen's It's Not Me, It’s You kicks the asses of pop culture haters who are waiting to see her fall musically after so many literal stumbles out of members' clubs in London. Rather than take the usual multi-producer track, Lily did this old school, recording the whole album at one time in Los Angeles with the brilliant Greg Kurstin. 12 diverse songs that represent real growth beyond her mad brilliant debut, Alright, Still.

Everyone's At It, the single-worthy opener, is the perfect bridge between Lily's previous sound and her new. less retro pop, with a fuzzy electro vibe and typically wry Lily lyrics : "So your daughter's depressed / We'll get her straight on the Prozac / But little do you know / She already takes crack."

The Fear, the actual first single (video below), has jaunty verses with a lush multi-tracked vocal on the chorus. Lyrically, she takes on the worldwide recession in 7 seconds: "I am a weapon of massive consumption / And It's not my fault, it's how I'm programmed to function."

Not Fair has a hilarious "rockabilly goes Grand O'l Opry" arrangement that needs to be on pop radio and probably won't. It also has the album's best verbal slam: “I look into your eyes / I want to get to know ya / And then you make this noise and it’s apparent it's all over.”

I Could Say is a defiant breakup song, but it's also more melancholy than anything she's ever done. Her finest ballad, this is a wall of beautiful sound. Chill inducing.

Back To The Start pings! The electric guitar is wicked and the high-speed chorus should have made this the first single. It's by far the best song on the album. The vocals are airy with reverb and the lyrics are a sweet apology for being a bitch to a friend: "Believe me when I say that I cannot apologize enough... and if it's not too late/ Could you please find deep within your heart / To try and go back / Go back to the start."

Who'd Have Known. Another relationship ditty, midtempo. This has changed a bit since she leaked it last summer. It's the one that reminds me most of producer Greg Kurstin's work in The Bird And The Bee.

Him waffles between folkie guitar midtempo and proper syncopated pop. It's about God, but manages to slide along the fine edge of humor without blasphemy. The music on the instrumental bridge at 2:25 is a dream.

The album is not perfect. Fuck You, the opening of which reminds me of The Carpenters, is meant to be an attack on Bush, but the chorus burns nothin' down. The final track, He Wasn't There - one assumes it's about her father - is both random and slight.

Second albums are always a big moment. After a year of topless sunbathing and slagging popstars, Lily Allen proves that she takes her music seriously. I'll quote the girl herself: she's killin' em all on her own little mission.

Lily Allen The Fear:



Stream The Fear remixes here.

16 comments:

Adem With An E said...

Cannot wait for this; I'm still quite in love with "The Fear" and am ready to welcome the girl and her music back with open arms...

K.I.A.T.W.F. said...

No thoughts on "22"? I may like it even more than "Back to the Start"!

xolondon said...

Very good song, I just could not articulate myself on it. (that grammar is wonky! sorry)

countpopula said...

I'm guessing this has leaked? I haven't heard much, but I thought the Fear and I Could Say were great, while FU was simply fantastic, and could be a great single if it wasn't for the constant cursing. What a singalong!

And I love the Carpenters! Karen was one of the greatest vocalists of her generation. Can you believe she was rejected from college on a vocal scholarship and had to be a percussion major instead, focusing on drums? What a fiasco!

xolondon said...

I also reviewed it for Instinct, so it was all legit.

countpopula said...

What a great review! Glad to see you getting another publication!

I will DEFINITELY be buying this on release day. She is proving herself to be quite talented in the candid lyrics category.

Paul said...

can't wait to hear this. my love for the fair lilleth runneth over. Or something. Great review...

duanemoody.com said...

I am officially extremely excited for this album. I didn't initially get into her for some dumb reason, and then went to see her live on a whim; she was brilliant, and I have been a massive fan ever since. I love you Lily! I am glad to hear the new album is great!

Yuяi said...

Wow, a "2 thumbs up" from Xolondon is indeed a cause for celebration!

I can't wait to hear all the tracks!

murder tramp said...

How do you have it? Have it actually leaked?

beE said...

leak already? where'd u find it?????

//beE

xolondon said...

As I said above, I did a short review for a magazine and played a legit version. I don't know it there is a leak yet, but it won't come from me.

ww_adh said...

Lucky you to get to hear it already! The advance reviews I've read have been very positive. I'm quite excited.

K.I.A.T.W.F. said...

You got the Japanese bonus tracks, right? "Fag Hag" especially should've been on the regular tracklist.

daavid said...

Wow, on one listen "The Fear" has become my favorite Lily Allen song (so far). It's one of those songs that evolves in completely unexpected ways as it plays. Now really looking forward to hearing the album.

zen~ said...

I have given INYIM a good listen to today, and I have to say that I am very impressed (over all) with Lily's new album. The music and production is faultless. Lyrically, she can sound a bit 'samey' as her spoken/rap/sing-song voice doesn't vary too much, but the variations in musical tempo and styles give the album that sparkle.

Gotta love a girl who sings about the state the world is in, her father, pre-mature ejaculators, girls she loved to hate, god and a good ol' 'f#ck you'!! Though, that song sorta stops the album from being a 'cafe' favourite....

Terry. x