Tuesday, February 10, 2009

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

I've been enamored with Lily Allen for a few years now. I've seen her live numerous times. I've seen her perform really well. I've seen her perform really really poorly. Along the way she has gained a serious following while also gaining a reputation with the paparazzi in her native UK for being a bit of a party animal. A recent feature in the NY Times attempts to put that image of her in the past. I'm even tempted to believe that she has reformed and loves a quiet evening alone in her flat. I suppose she had to prove she could live in a way worthy to her saucy, in-your-face lyrics. She is still really the only pop star that manages to put intelligent/interesting/funny spins on relationships in the female point of view. And when you get down to it her songs are ridiculously catchy and danceable. She basically became a genre onto herself. She sold 2.5 million copies of her debut Alright, Still and all of a sudden there was a deluge of female pop singers that tried to be sassy and creative in the Lily Allen mold. Essentially, Katy Perry should be giving 1/3rd of her royalties to Lily Allen.

Where her first album was heavy on the horns and driving, rocking tunes her new album shows a slightly different approach. This new tone and approach is largely attributed to producer Greg Kurstin (the Bird and the Bee). It's Not Me, It's You is listenable from front to back and quite enjoyable. Any fan of Allen's will be happy to know this album sounds fresh and not like a bunch of regurgitated songs. Kurstin has definitely opened up her ears musically. The influences on the album are quite eclectic, ranging from bubble-gum electro to Eurodisco, and, in a surprising twist, to a spaghetti-Westernized synth pop ditty called "Not Fair." It's an unexpected change from an artist that has made a living crafting a certain type of song. Yet, most songs keep their dance floor sensibility. Overall, the album doesn't have quite the bite as her debut, but that is probably because I have been numbed to the point where I expect her lyrics to be provocative about love, sex, and all the nitty details. When she sings, "Oh, I lie here in a wet patch/In the middle of the bed/I'm feeling pretty damn hard done by/I spent ages giving head" I'm not taken aback. I have a slight smirk and nod my head, because I would be disappointed if she wasn't singing lyrics like that.

Not Fair

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