Lily Allen It’s Not Me, It’s You

[EMI/Capitol; 2009]

Styles:  pop
Others: Katy Perry, Amy Winehouse

It's probably me reading too much Chuck Klosterman to try and figure out the subliminal media message of 12 bouncy beats, but it looks like Lily Allen's ready to transcend her pop star fame and enter the rarefied dimension of famous-for-being-famous. It's even plausible to consider her album It's Not Me, It's You as merely a collection of material that'd extend her tabloid lifespan. And while it can be winsome to follow her adventures in detail, there are reasons why it's no longer my theme music for window-shopping on a posh main street.

Chief among them is Lily's longing to be taken seriously with a requisite
sophomore album intended to signify maturity. So, now she mixes accounts with the issues that her fanbase may consider "social commentary." Hell, she even talks politics ("Fuck you/ Fuck you very, very much") and religion (both artless and charmless guess-work on supposed God's character). Numerous advocates may blame this lyrical verdancy on her age, but come on -- find the same nick ‘23’ on timelines of influential big-names and see if anyone used wording like "It's sad, but it's true how society says/ Her life is already over/ There's nothing to do and there's nothing to say."

As for the "relationship" songs, Lily's nonchalant declarations of self-esteem leave me cold. And as soon as she traded generically upbeat ska/reggae samples for a bunch of ho-hum electropop beats, she became indistinguishable from her imitators.

Lily must have known she could be the spokesperson for the 446,773 MySpace friends, but by the time she got up on the rostrum, she had no idea what to do with her newfound freedom, so she just converted it to air time. Pop stars feed on it. Still, there are several layers of quotation marks that she's supposedly wrapped up into. To peel one layer means she's ironic, but I doubt there is incongruity between her direct speech and her true motives. If I put her speech bubble in double quotes, she'd be a kitsch princess -- but that's questionable too since her ecstasy mill doesn't irritate eyes with garish factory smoke. So, this hauberk made with quotation marks simply looks like an empress' new clothes to me.

But, as they usually say in self-deprecating closings, that's just me.

1. Everyone's At It
2. The Fear
3. It's Not Fair
4. 22
5. I Could Say
6. Go Back To the Start
7. Never Gonna Happen
8. Fuck You
9. Who'd've Known
10. Chinese
11. Him
12. He Wasn't There

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