The spunky British pop singer Lily Allen has always been too cute for words and between her often hilarious lyrics and adorable outfits, Allen has been representing the cooler side of pop artists since her debut, Alright Still, came out in 2006. Known for her upbeat melodies and rhymes, which are often comical, introspective and set to bouncy back beats, Allen decided to try something a little fresh on her next effort. When Allen initially made this announcement it was hard to determine exactly which direction shed be taking, but the result is Its Not Me, Its You: a bold record that illustrates the fearless and ballsy side of Allen weve always known she was capable of.
The mostly autobiographical record brings us deeper into the young singer/songwriters current state of mind as she takes us on a rollercoaster ride of pain, from struggling with weight concerns to fractured family relationships. As usual, Allens not afraid to make generalizations about society and taunt her audience with often forward and heart-wrenching lyrics. However, behind the deceptively upbeat tunes of Its Not Me, Its You Allen appears chastened and even a little sad. With the inclusion of more serious subject matters (such as drug abuse and vanishing youth), Allens music takes on new, deeper meaning, but dont worry, Allens still the same young spirit at heart; albeit having a slightly more mature perspective on life.
Filled with wonderful tunes like the scratchy 1940s sounding He Wasnt There (“he” refers to her father) and the swinging dance number, 22, Its Not Me, Its You makes for a pleasant listen despite how slow and mature the music is compared to everything from Alright Still. Kicking off with the brutally honest, Everyones At It, Allen proceeds to point her finger at those with bad habits, from crack addicts to sleeping pill abusers, while humbly admitting that shes been there as well.
Next up is the hopelessly catchy The Fear, which is filled with swirling synths that help to distract us from what Allens really trying to get across here. She not only pokes fun at her own materiality, but even makes a declaration of Hollywood superficiality which is brilliantly well-illustrated as she cries, I am a weapon of massive consumption/But its not my fault/Its how Im programmed to function.
Much later, Allen brings back her younger, more flirty lyrical style. First with the country bounce of Not Fair, about a boy sucking in the bedroom, then with the comical boy basher waltz Never Gonna Happen, and then once more with the outrageous, Fuck You. A personal favorite, Whod Have Known is a sweet and slow tune about a blossoming relationship between two friends, which really compliments Allens embellished vocals.
Overall, incorporating a little old with a little new, Its Not Me, Its You shows Allens versatility as a musician. Shes managed to find a happy medium between deeply intricate lyrics and danceable melodies, which has infinitely improved her music, making it fun, but intellectual. In the end, Its Not Me, Its You is the autobiography of Allen and her alter-ego: the bad girl post adolescent in reflection and the self aware woman stepping out from behind the curtain. Hats off to Lily Allen for delivering a stunning sophomore effort!