Lily: Older and bolder

Brenna McNamara

Allen adds new pop sound to her old school sass

Credit: DKS Editors

Lily Allen has solidified herself as pop’s “homegirl” with her sophomore release “It’s Not Me, It’s You,” a mature refurbishing of her music that fuses playfulness and sass.

Allen has been in the paparazzi spotlight, due to her partying, since her acclaimed 2006 release “Alright, Still,” and her frustration and growth is obviously weaved throughout the lyrics of “It’s Not Me.” She vents about society, the media, the party life, love and close-mindedness with a new air of experience. She sings that she has moved past excessive drinking and drug-use but points the finger at society for perpetuating twisted beliefs and ideals. She and producer Greg Kurstin (of The Bird and the Bee) have left behind her retro-ska feel for a more pop-infused sound, but they still manage to preserve her unique feel.

The album starts with the beginning punch of “Everyone’s At It,” a poke at drug use and society’s denial of it, which sets the tone for most of the songs. She starts describing how the sun is coming up, but that’s not the only thing making her head hurt. Putting things up noses must be getting old by now, and what was meant to be fun doesn’t feel so right anymore.

The disappointment with society continues in the next song, “The Fear,” which has societal reflection, but remains catchy. Allen highlights the skewed importance of movie stars, weight, sex appeal and the influence of the media. The chorus – “I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore/And I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore/When do you think it will all become clear?/Because I’m being taken over by the fear” – may be part of an upbeat song, but it invokes perhaps the saddest feeling that any Lily Allen song ever has.

Leave comic relief to Allen, though, as her next song, “Not Fair” is a hilarious and realistic song about how it’s not fair that her man finishes too quick and fails to make her scream in satisfaction. “Never Gonna Happen” is also about sex, but instead it’s about a guy’s obsession with her after she uses him for sex. Both songs are reminiscent of old-school Lily sass and doesn’t seem outrageously appealing until mid-song when your head is bobbing to the swingy beats.

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It’s Not Me, It’s You

Released by

Capitol Records

Stater rating (out of five): ☆☆☆ & 1/2

“Fuck You” has that sneaky appeal as well. All of a sudden you will find yourself singing “fuck you very much” and realizing the simple draw to Allen’s music is not in the profound lyrics, but her ability to make you want to tap your toes.

Most of the love songs on the album come at the tail end and are lackluster, but the fifth track “I Could Say” shows Allen’s talent for singing slower, more nostalgic songs and relating to listeners. She sings about losing the chip on her shoulder and feeling older once her love that holds her down is out of the picture. “I’ve got a lot of life ahead of me/ I’m only 22,” she sings.

Perhaps the most appealing songs, “Fag Hag” and “Kabul Shit” aren’t on the CD, only the single of “The Fear.” If she had replaced “Chinese” and “Him” with the songs on the single, the record would be much better.

All in all, Allen proved she’s gotten older, but she still stays true to her “in-your-face” style. Although her songs’ themes have been written about by other artists who use more profound, flowery lyrics, Allen’s ability to relate to listeners through catchy beats and simple music will keep her around for a while. And any Lily fan can cheer to that.

Contact all correspondent Brenna McNamara at [email protected].