Allen's second album sets many a record straight

Let’s be totally honest, people: even before record number two, we’re a bit over Lily!

What with her increasingly monitored life and potty-mouthed lunacies being splattered across any publication with an inch of free space, it’s easy to forget that not so long ago Dear Lily was the toast of the pop music world – ‘music’ being the operative word. Nowadays, attentions lurk more about her button nose being baked in party grime while her massively mischievous eyes leer pie-eyed out of a black cab window rather than the biting, cutesy pop that in 2006 had her pinned as a British Pop Idol.

One might quip that as a result of such severe non-music related attention, there is a whole lot more riding on the success of the pop-tartlet’s second helping, ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’, than funding her next pack of fags, as, more than any other pop star, musical integrity has always been paramount to the gobby youngster. And so, shacking up with pop-music puppeteer Greg Kurstin, Allen delivers an equally engaging follow up to ‘Alright, Still’, though banishing ska-lashes to make way for a totally synth-steered sound, ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ is a dangerously likeable shift for the girl who continues to wear her heart in her songs.

Indeed, no taboo is left untouched by Allen, who, let’s face it, probably has enough personal ammunition to fuel a ten-year career of brutally autobiographical albums. First single ‘The Fear’ picks at small-minded indulgences and the fickleness of fame; somewhat trite though it is, sticking out of a flood of soft synths, it’s sickeningly catchy and dance friendly. If Allen’s latest stance on party drugs fell on deaf ears then opening track ‘Everyone’s At It’ will compensate, as sirens alarm one to X-rated rants that are to come, starting with ‘It’s Not Fair’, a loosely spilled barn-dance ditty that has Allen griping: “Now I lie here in the wet patch in the middle of the bed / I’m feeling pretty damn hard done by / I’ve spent ages giving head”. ‘22’ follows, a piano-led song where the crisp-spoken Allen speaks of ungraceful ageing, before ‘I Could Say’ and the wildly breaking techno jab of ‘Go Back To The Start’.

Though the pout, attitude and shameless honesty of ‘Alright, Still’ sticks like bubblegum, the jostling pace that accompanies her new dance-filled flow will pleasure many. Sample dabblings will surprise (the clapped Balken-styled ‘Never Going to Happen Again’ waddles slightly) as kitchen sink dramas tire somewhat (‘Chinese’), but then comes the endearingly titled ‘Fuck You’, a one-track summing-up of the charm that is Lily Allen: impolite truths in the voice of an angel, making ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ a feverishly catchy and bona fide favourite. And so, despite public lashings and continued tabloid exposure, Britain’s mouthy pop idol returns triumphantly and with the brawny guts to stick with what she knows best.

Though we may be over Lily, the celebrity, be ready to embrace ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’.

Lily Allen – ‘The Fear’


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