Review Summary: Lily drops the sneakers and bicycle, crowns herself in pink satin on her mature typeface ‘L’ and, releases an album for the eager fans, and for those getting their first peek at the fun-and-excitement circus.
It’s all about getting older for Lily here. Her writing reflects it. It shows that, in spite of all the press, rumours, truths, and glitter over the last three or so years since her debut, there’s an everyday girl, wanting to write everyday songs about everyday struggles, and not just about the girl magazines are dogging for the goss. It shows a girl wanting to just move onwards. Lily does this like she’s the girl in the group who’s too dumb to leave the abusive relationship, and too smartass to voice the raging opinions in her head without tripping over some clumsy fun comedy.
Alongside Greg Kurstin (Britney Spears
, Kylie Minogue
), she offers a collection of cuts that feel like their source is a little less mental then the one during Alright, Still
. Lyrically, her style remains intact; the black humour rhythmical phrasing that poke out punch lines such as those in the pithy rolling melodies of “Not fair”
, “Oh I lie here in the wet patch / In the middle of the bed / I’m feeling pretty hard done by / I spent ages giving head”. Such lyrics may remind some of Eminem
’s own storytelling techniques that often utilised sexually explicit humour to explain the frustratingly simple act of love and relationships. By just adding vivacious electropop grooves, bouncing beats and plenty of pop density, and Lily’s lyrics purposefully match the music at hand with uncanny efficiency.
Lead single, “The Fear”
explains a lot of things about the past three years. The topless entry at the Cannes Film Festival and vicarious materialism, are explained with little logic but plenty of jollity. What’s not so obvious is her vulnerability as a person; on the surface she’s pretty fun, but in deeper it’s always darker. Whether she uses her music to cloud over the things that have gone wrong, it seems that music is one source of coping with whatever she’s done wrong this time ‘round. Who knows, if she wasn’t as controversial, she may not have anything to write about… But as this is fairly early on, returning to blatant stories about the mad life she lives as well as throwing in a couple of softer (but still fairly upbeat) reflection-ballads becomes a fairly simple affair as the disc progresses.
The album concludes moderately with the crackling jazz number, “He Wasn’t There”
, which is preceded earlier by standout “Fuck You”
. As the title suggests utilises the friendly gesture in the most full-of-beans way, going as far as having her voice added with digital helium just to have it make even less sense amid the more rational protests toward homophobes and racists. “Him”
, acts as a metaphor for the/a God, and is her most political test to date. She asks whether this God would drive without insurance, whether he’d be pleased at what he sees overlooking the globe, whether he’s financially secure, that are amongst other eccentric questions that twist the superhuman entity into just a human entity, afterward stating that this ‘one’ has been the focal point for many dying in vain during the chorus.
Faced with her most important release, It’s Not Me, It’s You
gives off the impression that she’s here to stay, at least for another two or three albums – we’ll wait for further superstardom to kick in over the next few releases and see if her path follows dubious circles like those of countless others. For now this liberation is impressive enough to easily reveal that determination and maturity have a chance. While perched on the ‘L’ and finally sliding off the ‘n’ to whatever awaits, Lily needed an album with momentum to fling her, and in that it delivers amazing well. Even as all is fairly level in terms of musical approach, Lilly’s lyrics add much character for the occasionally average compositions that accompany them. In most cases the two reinforce in both the verses and choruses, with Kurstin adding hooks where compulsory and Lily even coming out if the instrumental shell to perform herself. “It’s not me”, she says in explanation, it’s us.