Whatever one’s feelings are vis a vis Lily Allen, it seems unreasonable that in order to be considered a success — and thereby acquitting its progeny of several years worth of drunken misdeeds — any new release must not merely be considered musically proficient, or heaven forbid, ‘kind of fun to listen to’, but nothing less than a cultural barometer for its time. It’s Not Me, It’s You is not exactly the zeitgeist-ish affair that its predecessor, Alright, Still was, but it certainly proves that Ms Allen hasn’t entirely replaced the creative juices with alcoholic ones.
More than anything else, this album betrays that frequently insisted wish of Allen’s to be Grown Up And Mature. This isn’t to say that it actually is either of these things, but the effort ought to be commended. Rather than resting on her slightly tarnished laurels and reissuing a sound that might seem trite and formulaic the second time around, Allen has produced a record that has lost none of the witty lyricism and endearing rudeness of her debut.
The disappearance of Alright, Still’s funky calypso rhythms and upbeat tempo — substituted for occasional use of the ‘ubiquitous in British pop’ electro beats and a more thoughtful, if subdued, pace — is a slight shame, and there is no immediately stand-out melody with the catchiness of LDN or Smile (a problem that constant radio exposure will no doubt soon put paid to), but nor is there any one particularly weak track. Fuck You — written about everybody’s favourite ex-President — has a juvenilia about it at odds with Allen’s professed sophistication, and seems redundant given that Dubya isn’t currently enjoying a welcome reception, but nonetheless has a refrain which can’t be faulted.
Even if the enthusiastic rejection of her previous style is disappointing, It’s Not Me, It’s You should still vindicate Allen’s extracurricular activities — but don’t worry, Many Detractors: she’s still Keith Allen’s daughter.
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