A very cheeky lesson learned

July 18, 2009
By thebeesknees SILVER, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
thebeesknees SILVER, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
6 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Lily Allen is growing up. She’s traded in her neon trainers for designer pumps and drunken stumble for a more mature, almost elegant glide, and sure, she still Twitters like a fiend and picks fights with even the most established of celebrities, but now with a slightly wiser and more placid affectation. Where 2007’s Alright, Still was a cheeky (platinum in UK), in-your-face pop gem, Allen’s latest It’s Not me, It’s You is an equally cheeky, in-your-face pop gem in a slightly less smug tune and with even a few morals stuffed between acidic bouts of verbal abuse.

That’s not to say it’s an after-school special, Allen is still very much a boisterous twenty-something with a rampaging attitude and this shows on blatantly boorish songs “Not Fair” and “Never Gonna Happen”, both of which reject prospective lovers with a less than tactful approach. But she throws anti-prejudiced ideas into songs and makes quips at her own growing celebrity status -- “I’ll take off my clothes and it will be shameless, ‘cuz everyone knows that’s how you get famous” -- on “The Fear”. She chides the media, condemns her and the world’s nasty habits, and contemplates death in the name of religion, but never once forgets her audience, balancing ethics with rude banter and synth-heavy pop hooks.

Allen also gets personal, reconciling with her mom over Chinese takeout on “Chinese” and revealing an equally strained and loving relationship with her dad on “He Wasn’t There”.

Allen abandons her dance-rock sound of Alright, Still for an eclectic mix of synth-led tunes, but none of the hooks quite stick. The electro-western kitsch of “Not Fair” seems out of place for a pop-star whose persona is based entirely on witty British-ness. Other times, good attempts are misplaced, like the Eastern-European accordion ditty meets summery breakup song, “Never Gonna Happen”, which is a bit too disjointed. Most songs have just enough dance-beat bass to get stuck in one’s head, even without being completely welcome there.

Even when Allen’s uncouth jesting gets a bit too crude for a traditional palate and her tunes almost miss the mark, she cannot be denied her rightful place as reigning pop princess. Her self-created image and hand-penned songs are a genre in themselves, a genre swarming with poor Allen facsimiles, like faux-lesbian Katy Perry. They have the look, but not many tongues are planted firmly enough in cheek to compete with Ms. Lily Allen, pop-star extraordinaire.

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