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.