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Music Review

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

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Lily Allen: 'It's Not Me, It's You'
Released on Monday, Feb 9 2009

Let's get one thing straight from the start - we've all heard quite enough from Lily Allen of late. The media-savvy singer has been inescapable in the weeks leading up to this album's release, telling the press about everything from her penchant for older men to her miscarriage to her younger brother's habit of "pooing in front of her". Earlier this week she confided to the GMTV audience that she felt "over-exposed" - oh, the irony! - and it was impossible not to agree.

Does Allen manage to keep her opinions to herself on It's Not Me, It's You? Course she doesn't. Her second album features a sharp song about celebrity culture, a not terribly timely song about George W. Bush, a fairly silly song about God - "Has he ever been done for tax evasion?" she wonders - and a thought-provoking song about our attitude towards drugs. Tabloid columnists will be reassured to learn that Allen remains as quotable as ever. "I lie here in the wet patch in the middle of the bed," she sings on a song called 'Not Fair'. "I'm feeling pretty damn hard done by, I spent ages giving head." Can you imagine hearing that from Duffy?

Funnily enough though, Allen's most memorable songs are often the ones that tackle smaller themes - that is, if any relationship between two human beings can be referred to as "small". 'Back To The Start' finds her attempting to make amends with the elder sister she tormented as a teenager - "This is not just a song, I intend to put these words into action," she insists - while the charming 'Who'd of Known' is all about the thrill of a fledgling romance. 'I Could Say', by contrast, is simply one of the saddest, truest songs about breaking up in recent memory.

But the album's trump card is its tunes - nearly every song comes with a killer chorus to match that of lead single 'The Fear'. That track's mature, reflective electropop sound is repeated several times here, but Allen and producer Greg Kurstin aren't afraid to stray from their synthy comfort zone. 'Not Fair' is a jaunty Spaghetti Western romp, 'Back To The Start' is built for the dancefloor and 'F**k You' recalls the fairground playfulness of 'Alfie' from her debut album.

Ultimately there's plenty to enjoy on It's Not Me, It's You - those choruses, Allen's unfailing honesty, the small pleasure of hearing someone rhyme "young adolescents" with "anti-depressants" in a song about drugs. But the best indicator of its success is that after listening you no longer think of Lily Allen as that gobby, obnoxious individual you read about in the Metro every morning. Instead you're reminded that she's actually a pretty fantastic popstar.

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