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


3.5
great

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
February 10th, 2009 | 175 replies | 24,912 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It's Not Me, It's You lives and dies by Lily Allen's charisma. Thankfully she has a lot of it.

Given the chance I would most certainly kidnap Lily Allen. Now I'm not normally one to fawn over sometimes frumpy British girls, but from her third nipple to her well documented stances on drugs and alcohol, I seem to be constantly fascinated by her. I find everything she does inherently adorable. I dunno. The kicker is that beyond her irreverent brattyness there's certainly talent to be found. She's more than witty slang and drunken tirades. Like Prince, she's more than a girl with a pretty face. She's got talent. Katy Perry, if you're listening, please take notes (and/or your shirt off).

This is the part where I lie and say It's Not Me, It's You picks up where Alright, Still left off. Moving on. Of course it does trade in ska-tinged, urban flavoured backdrops for a more European, dance-y style, It's Not Me, It's You still feels like a natural progression from its predecessor.

Lily Allen made a name for herself with the lyrically vengeful yet happy-go-lucky "Smile" and It's Not Me, It's You continues the trend of songs written to someone rather than about them. The anti-anti gay "Fuck You" makes specific references to an anonymous person's "tiny mind". When she sings "fuck you very much" it seems like her words are a bullet with a crosshair. Though it may very well be a personalized generality, it doesn't come off as such. What's particularly interesting about "Fuck You" is that while it directly bites the Carpenters' "Close To You", it plays out as the total opposite. In "Fuck You"'s case, birds are not suddenly appearing; if they were, Lily would probably be throwing rocks at them. Of course the track is far from a direct knockoff, it merely speeds "Close to You"'s piano hook up and adds a deliciously gay turbo-bass back beat to it. "Back to the Start" is a lyrically apologetic track that has Lily apologizing to an unknown ex-friend, and while Lily pleads to make bygones into bygones the track still manages to be bouncy and seemingly tailor made for jazzercise.

When her lyrics are simple and cheeky, they work. The aforementioned "Fuck You" succeeds when Lily delivers quick quips and snappy jabs, but it stumbles when she does too much---why she suddenly calls the song's subject a racist is both confusing and probably unintentional---one of those emotional stumbles that can only be explained with dashes upon dashes of subtext. "Chinese" is almost a consistent lyrical fumble, with Lily dragging on about next-to-nothing before lulling us to sleep with the line "you'll make me beans on toast and a nice cup of tea, and we'll get a Chinese and watch TV". "Chinese" is utterly irreverent, even for Lily Allen. Of course the track itself is less than stellar, a certain skipper if there ever was one.

Like before, Lily's charisma (and occasional lack-thereof) really propels the album. Lily knows what works. She knows when to be vindictive, mocking and mellowed out. Lily knows when to be introspective (The Fear) and when to be childishly curious (Him). The problem is, the production and overall sound of It's Not Me, It's You doesn't show the same diversity. Lily's sophomore album is, for the most, an album without any real highs and lows. "Chinese" may be dull, but it's not quite bad, and while "22" sounds like an Alright, Still b-side, for many that's hardly a negative. Beyond that, Greg Kurstin's production is never quite sure of itself. Sure, Lily may know when to be serious and when to be playful, but that doesn't always translate with her accompaniment. Kurstin's production is sometimes snappy (Everyone's At It) and sometimes silly (the wonderful electro-western "Not Fair) but it also sometimes borders on gimmicky (the ridiculous waltz that begins "Never Gonna Happen") and inconsequential (22). Like I said, It's Not Me, It's You lives and dies by Lily, and while that's how it should be, she could probably use some extra help now and again. That being said, Kurstin's work is occasionally wonderful and seems to be at its best when it's flourishing in retro-Synthy Lauperisms (I Could Say) and bass heavy joggers (Back to the Start, Fuck You) and if anything it does the trick. He's no Mark Ronson, but he's thankfully not Sam Ronson either.

While it's hardly a pop renaissance, It's Not Me, It's You is an appropriate follow-up to a debut that peaked not only because of its musical merits but also because of it's cultural catalysts. With the bitchy-Brits trend hopefully on the way out, Lily is relying on her natural charisma and talent and it seems like she'll pull through.



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user ratings (250)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
pizzamachine (3)
Floccinaucinihilipilification aside, this is an alright album....

Alex Robertson STAFF (4.5)
...

David James Young (4)
One small step for pop music = one giant leap for Lily Allen....

Jake C. Taylor (4.5)
Lily drops the sneakers and bicycle, crowns herself in pink satin on her mature typeface ā€˜Lā€™ and...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2009



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

boo

Tyler
Emeritus
February 10th 2009



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

urns

kmagnum1x
February 10th 2009



260 Comments


bad review imo

Tyler
Emeritus
February 10th 2009



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

probably

AtavanHalen
February 10th 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Some pretty nice writing here. I laughed at the Katy Perry line.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
February 11th 2009



3766 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

review is correct

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2009



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

katy perry is so much better

Tyler
Emeritus
February 11th 2009



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

looking maybe

scyther
February 11th 2009



1606 Comments


You used irreverent twice.

Tyler
Emeritus
February 11th 2009



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I used "the" 16 times.

scyther
February 11th 2009



1606 Comments


Good review though, I'm probably going to get this soon not a single person I've spoken to about it has any ill words besides the Black Metal Knights.

AtavanHalen
February 11th 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Katy Perry has a couple of great singles, but Lily Allen has a couple of great albums.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
February 11th 2009



3766 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

But no one really cares about albums

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2009



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lily allen has been around longer good point not

ninjuice
February 11th 2009



6760 Comments


lol at Prince joke.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2009



16083 Comments


You used the word "to" 27 times

Tyler
Emeritus
February 11th 2009



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i hope prince isn't mad at me

rasputin
February 11th 2009



14540 Comments


You used the letter 'e' 396 times Cocaine, that's not good enough.

scyther
February 11th 2009



1606 Comments


Jokes been dead for a while now.

AtavanHalen
February 11th 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lily allen has been around longer good point not

My point is that I can listen to either of Lily's records, whereas I skip through a lot of Katy's.



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