It’s Not Me, It’s You | Lily Allen

| Cadenza Reporter

2764161568Lily Allen: temperamental pop songstress, user of ecstasy at age 14, bearer of three nipples and chronic alcoholic. To this list of dubious yet compelling qualities can now be added: creator of awesome second album.

The notoriously-mouthy singer-songwriter made a splash in 2007 with the release of her debut “Alright, Still” and kickoff single “Smile,” a reggae-inflected verbal castration of an ex-flame.

Two years, one miscarried baby, several media-aided battles against Katy Perry and Amy Winehouse and a few weight fluctuations later, she returns with a similarly-minded disc and attitude. Despite her claim that she was attempting to move in a different direction (citing the fact that several acts copied her style), her most recent effort remains remarkably similar to her first, mixing her trademark combative, promiscuous ethos with a suitable number of tender ballads. Nothing here matches “LDN” or the aforementioned “Smile” off of her debut, but every song is a winner.

Those looking solely for powerful vocals and intricate wordplay should back away slowly, shaking a clove of garlic to hide their scent. Allen crafts pop songs backed with intricately-layered electronic and rock production, adding her thin vocals and effective lyrics.

She has added dramatic political overtones; the first track “Everyone’s at it” explores the overly-medicated state of the world, the brilliant “F*** You” was originally aimed at big oil, but Allen states, “I felt this issue has become relevant pretty much everywhere, we are the youth, we can make coolness for our future, it’s up to us. Go green and hate hate.”

Regardless of the motive, the results are fantastic. Despite her formulaic, verse-chorus-verse approach to song construction, her production creates interest throughout the album with a variety of electronic and riff-based tricks. Lead single “The Fear” topped the UK singles chart in December, and with its blaring synths and dark bassline, seems poised for similar success stateside. Standout track “Not Fair” is a song about a potato-sack-with-a-dong type lay and characterizes it with the lines “look into your eyes, I want to get to know ya, but then you make this noise, apparently it’s all over.”

Allen’s career is basically constructed around her persona, topping lists for her style and making headlines for both her fondness for recreational drug use and her Britney Spears-esque stints in therapy and rehabilitation. Despite these tendencies, her willingness to mock the music industry and her brutal introspection in album and in press has created a new type of celebrity—decadent yet self-aware, hedonistic but inspiring in her candor and moral philosophies.

For example, her diatribes against fellow starlets have been refuted in turn, stating “I felt like ‘Oh God, I’m short, fat, ugly and I hate all these people who flaunt their beauty.’”

Her enlightened attitude toward homosexuality has landed her on the cover of Gay Times (making her the first female on the cover in 12 years), and her interest in the environment has led her to record exclusively at Studio A, England’s only solar-powered recording studio. Lily Allen is the shiznit, and is everything I want to be, except female and white. Google her.

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