It’s Not Me, Its You
Capitol Records, 2009
By Julissa Trevino
MySpace pop sensation Lily Allen doesn’t exactly follow up her massively popular 2006 debut Alright, Still with more of the same.
There’s something missing in her new album, It’s Not Me, It’s You. While all the right elements are present—insults to guys she’s involved with, humorous lyrics and good vocals–Alright, Still had a fierce, angry and energetic tone that It’s Not Me lacks. After selling 2.5 million copies of her debut and inspiring a flock of quirky, pretty and controversial female artists to the mainstream pop scene, Allen settles for something less cool.
Allen has undoubtedly built a niche in inspired, powerful music, with sweet, soft vocals in her cute British accent and usually bass-driven catchy beats. But her lyrics set her apart. The brutally-honest Allen sings of annoying and unworthy guys and her relationships with them. “Never Gonna Happen” mixes rhythmic and steady beats with rather harsh, funny lyrics: “How on earth could I be any more obvious?/ It never really did and now it’s never gonna happen with the two of us” she goes on to sing “I don’t love you, I don’t love you.”
It’s Not Me also brings up some new issues: God (“Him”), drugs (“Everyone’s At It”) and good experiences with a guy (“Who’d Have Known?”). The most inspired song, reminiscent of her growing maturity, is the simple and passionate “Who’d Have Known?” about an uncertain and exciting new relationship. The song is beautiful–the soft music set to the impressively adorable lyrics (“I haven’t left you for days now/ And I’m becoming amazed how/ You’re quite affectionate in public/ In fact your friend said it made her feel sick”) and Allen’s untrained voice makes for an effortless track.
The album does have faults, though. “Back to the Start” is downright annoying. The song starts off with a loud bass beat, and the song doesn’t flow well. The vocals seem disoriented within the song, which unsuccessfully attempts to use loud synthesizers. “I Could Say” doesn’t work either–the music sounds like it’s a bad breakdance beat.
“Him” and “He Wasn’t There” exemplify the quality of Allen’s vocals, redeeming the album at its conclusion. These songs focus much less on loud music and more on the softness of her voice. “Him” begins only with acoustic guitar and a soft ambient noise, where her voice becomes exceptionally noticed, and “He Wasn’t There” altogether gets rid of loud bass beats.
It’s Not Me isn’t perfect, nor does it have to be. It doesn’t have the same fast, in-your-face feel as her debut. But Allen shows her passionate and soft side on her latest album, and it’s justified to say that she’s doing alright, still.