Lily Allen album review

Sometimes, an album comes out of the blue and belies all preconceptions. Alright, Still, Lily Allen’s debut, was one such record. On the surface, a collection of bubblegum pop songs from the daughter of odious celebrity ligger Keith Allen didn’t appear to be worth bothering with, but, upon closer inspection, it burst with wit and honesty (not to mention radio-friendly, ska-influenced tunes) in its stories of the trials of modern life. It was like a breath of fresh air, and certainly one of the albums of 2006. Following that unexpected gem, Allen’s new album is burdened by the considerable weight of expectation.

Though Allen is truly now a marketable pop star with an army of teenage fans to cater for and record company sales forecasts to deal with, It’s Not Me, It’s You stays pretty loyal to the uncompromising nature of her debut. Swear words are still unapologetically littered throughout and she deals with issues that other pop acts wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. While subtlety is sometimes absent as she wallops us over the head with her words, her occasionally overt morality is still applaudable and there is pleasing wry commentary. Opening track Everyone’s At It is a lament to drug taking, while The Fear offers lines that are equally straightforward and knowing digs at the culture of celebrity: “I’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless/Cos everyone knows that’s how you get famous.” There are other acerbic moments, like the line-dancing Not Fair, which treads the familiar ground of a lover’s ineptitude in bed.Even though there is nothing on It’s Not Me, It’s You to match the quality of the best parts of Alright, Still, it is still a slickly produced album of catchy-as-fuck pop, and Lily Allen’s personality shines through enough for her to to easily leap the Difficult Second Album hurdle. One gets the impression that, if you went for a beer with her, you would encounter exactly the same cheeky, witty, gutsy, truthful character you hear in her songs. For a mainstream pop star, Lily Allen is as genuine as they get.

Review by Bobby Townsend