Wednesday, February 11, 2009

a weapon of massive consumption

I'm a grown man, father of one and in his mid-Thirties. I am not entirely sure therefore that I am the target demographic for Lily Allen and despite not being all that enamoured with her debut album Alright, Still I was convinced to buy It's Not Me, It's You by the sheer brilliance of the lead single and number One hit The Fear.

I'd had Allen pretty much pegged as a fashion fad and a one-album wonder. I wasn't sure her cheeky chirpy Cockneyness would survive more than the one summer and I figured her perky brand of modern pop wouldn't stand the test of time.

How wrong I was. Despite not being a fan I loved The Fear from the first time I heard it. The album is, I am delighted to say, much more of the same. Allen seems to have toned down her affected accent a little bit and the vast majority of the material on It's Not Me, It's You is catchy, brutally honest and surprisingly downbeat (even the uptempo tracks are biting and melancholy). I'd also hate to be the person on the receiving end of some of her acerbic lyrics....

From the superb opening track Everyone's At It this record grips and hooks you. Its musical styles chop and change from traditional pop through a strange country and western number to so-called "nu-rave". and lyrically it is simultaneously socially astute and heartbreakingly personal. Allen has admitted to unconsciously borrowing the chorus of Take That's Shine for the song Who'd Have Known and the bubblegum poppiness of F**k You hides a darker lyrical message. I particularly like Allen in reflective mood as her voice suits the slower, more fragile tracks like I Could Say and Chinese.

I thought I would never say this but Allen has come up with really brilliant album here, setting the benchmark for clever, well-crafted and mature 21st century pop that others will do well to meet. Highly recommended.