After letting celebrity and tabloid over exposure get in the way of what brought her to our attention in the first place, Lily Allen gets back to being a pop star. And she’s not half bad at it either.
It’s Not Me, It’s You sees Allen back with twelve new tracks that take on a glossed pop sheen, whilst retaining her barbed incisive lyrics. Allen is vehemently now. A girl of her times who is not afraid to tackle some big subjects. From the Girls Aloud meets La Roux electro of Everyone’s At It (Drugs) to He Wasn’t There (Absent Fathers) to Fuck You (George Bush) with its keyboard introduction that melts Aussie soap theme Neighbours and Embarrassment by Madness together in a sickly sauce before bowling out a big stomping circus rant; Lily is happy to put an opinion across, even if sometimes it’s a little simplistic and obvious. George Bush is hardly a complex target after all.
Besides celebrity and bigger issues, Lily also presents several songs that show that she’s just a normal girl at heart, with concerns over relationships and the more mundane. Chinese sees Lily sing of beans on toast, cups of tea, walking the dog and Chinese takeaways, whilst Who’d Have Known is touching in its description of the giddy and desperate awkward excitement of the beginnings of a relationship. “And even though it’s moving forward, there’s just the right amount of awkward,” she coos, before adding gleefully “And today you accidentally called me baby.” It’s an engaging and warm song that makes you want to like Lily a lot, even if the chorus is a direct rip off of Take That’s Shine.
The best thing about It’s Not Me It’s You however is that despite continuing to use the F word on several tracks, the delivery is more sophisticated than its predecessor. From the cover art where Lily looks relaxed and dressed up, rather than the cocky “let’s ‘av it” look on Alright Still, to the clear tone vocals which are less market trader street lass and more gratifying and sweetly sung; Allen has improved. In terms of overall sound, the songs here have a reasonably big similarity with Saint Etienne in their more electronic mode and the now long forgotten Dubstar. Songs that work well in the studio, and on the stereo but will never massively move or excite live.
For those who dislike pure pop music, you will find no pleasure here. However for those who think that The Fear is the best song of the year so far and find excitement in the short passing kiss of such songs whilst they last, It’s Not Me, It’s You is worth your money.