Tuesday, December 08, 2009

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

Here's another review by Amica Paige...

Lily Allen has graduated from mere flippancy in her sophomoric first album to a classier, more composed cheek with such melodic ease and lyrical wit in conveying her insights in It’s Not Me, It’s You. This time, she confronts societal norms, conformity, youth, relationships, and self-absorption of all sorts—in short, life—and calls for an openness that’s evocative of the late George Carlin, unapologetic, but that’s altogether chic, sassy, and melodious. With its delightfully varied sound that’s intermittently indie, jazzy, retro, as well as country, this album is a complete fare that’s entirely seasoned with sophisticated sarcasm for those finer, contemplative moments.

With the opening track’s, “Everyone’s At It”, sobering message about drug prevalence which infect all of society, “from grown politicians to adolescents”, and that could only be solved by admission, the song is in sheer contrast to its breezy melody, easy synth, and subtle beats,

Likewise, “The Fear” has a contradictory upbeat sound for such grave lyrics describing a human frailty caused by worldliness:

“I want to be rich and I want lots of money
I don’t care about clever…about funny
I want loads of clothes…diamonds
…people die while trying to find them
…take my clothes off…
…that’s how you get famous…
I don’t know what’s right or real anymore
…how I’m meant to feel anymore
...cause I’m being taken over by the fear
Life’s about film stars and less about mothers
…all about fast cars and cussing each other
But it doesn’t matter ‘cause I’m packing plastic
…makes my life so f**king fantastic
And I am a weapon of massive consumption
…how I’m programmed to function
I’ll look at the Sun and I’ll look in the mirror…
…I’m not a saint but I’m not a sinner
…everything’s cool…I’m getting thinner
…I’m being taken over by fear”

“Not Fair” is a galloping western bop that’s in sardonic contrast to what’s being sung, which is the utter dilemma of being in a relationship fraught with mounting discontent over the kind of sexual intimacy one is engaged in.

“22” is an 80’s jingle reminiscent of Belinda Carlisle’s “Circle in the Sand” or Madonna’s “Cherish”, but where they cooed about a seeming frivolity, Allen coolly croons about the difficult feat of confronting societal standards which declares that the only thing left for a 30 year old lady to do is to wait for the “man of her dreams”.

“I Could Say” is a song of liberation from that certain “chip” on the shoulder, wherein Allen cheekily chirps, “Since you’ve gone, I’ve lost that chip on my shoulder… I’ve gotten older…the whole wide world is my stage… …I’ve been let out of my cage”.

“Back to the Start” has perhaps the fastest danceable rhythm, as in the 80’s new wave with a subtle chime-like synth, that conversely plays a message of apology for one’s past jealousies and an appeal to start over.

“F**k You” sweetly expresses defiance against intolerance, with a kick in the air, joined arms a la the Rockettes, repeated chanting of “F***k you very very much”, and sticking both tongue and lollipop in the cheek, while jumping to the tune’s pulsing beats.

The following tracks have similarly breezy melodies, but with slightly slower tempos:
While “Never Gonna Happen” relates an unsteady relationship, “Who’d Have Known” examines a growing affection. And “Chinese” is quite the song, as well as the food, to have around when thinking about cuddling in front of the TV with a dear one. And whereas Allen blithely questions god in “Him” with unquestionable cynicism, she airily hoots about a father’s neglect and desertion with unmistakable sarcasm in “He Wasn’t There”.

Have this album for easy, thoughtful listening with a bit of shake. It’s especially soothing for those inspired moments when you’re itching to break out the paint, write, or simply be creative in other ways.

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