Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Lily Allen: It’s Not Me, It’s You

Remember when Lily Allen was the lone intoxicated, loudmouthed British pop starlet out there wooing critics with her talent and bewitching tabloids with her boorish behavior? Then Amy Winehouse came along and out-Lily-Allened Lily Allen (by a wide margin); on Winehouse’s heels, brassy Brits like Duffy, Adele, Kate Nash, and Gabriella Cilmi raced in and turned retro-pop-in-chav-garb into its own genre. Even if no one else remembers, Allen sure does. Anxiety over the competition underscores Allen’s sophomore LP It’s Not Me, It’s You in ways both large and small. The album’s first single, “The Fear,” is a first-person exposé of the path to pop stardom—clearly written in the voice of a wannabe—and throughout the record, Allen mocks world leaders, celebrities, and the fame-obsessed, singing lines like, “So your daughter’s depressed / We’ll get her straight on the Prozac / But little do you know she already takes crack.”
Allen and producer Greg Kurstin back up the half-lidded sass-talk with a buzzy neo-technopop sound that’s purposefully engineered to put the post-Winehouse crowd in the rearview. The synthetic texture of It’s Not Me, It’s You is a little too uniform—it’s instantly hooky, but seems increasingly callow as the record plays on—but Allen deserves credit for changing gears, as well as for allying herself with the social-criticism tradition of Jarvis Cocker and Paul Weller. Allen could’ve easily just rehashed the party-girl anthems of Alright, Still, but while It’s Not Me, It’s You is as full of toe-tappers as Allen’s debut, the new album also has a big chip on its shoulder. Allen clearly has no intention of being mistaken for anybody else.

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