A Slice of Fried Gold

It's Love

Thursday, February 12, 2009

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

I was always really skeptical of Lily Allen's debut album Alright, Still. There were a number of reasons - I am really resistant to hype trains, her brand of sassy girl pop didn't seem my style, and as most succinctly put by my mom, I don't like girls. As in girl singers, but she finds it hysterical by saying it the other way in public to massively embarrass me. I just was very unsure about it.

Yet, I finally tried it out and absolutely loved it. I loved the ska influences, I loved her sassyness, loved the lyrics, and just thought it was a fun, fun album. She was wonderful and tracks like "LDN" would make me think of cruising during the summer even if it was negative 10 outside up here in Alaska. There is something that can be said about that.

Yet to a certain degree, she was overshadowed by Amy Winehouse's drunken buffoonery and boozy (and showstopping) soul jams, and then further pushed out of the limelight by Katy Perry's ascent via sexual ambiguity and annoyingly popular hooks (this is not a resistance to popular thing, I genuinely distaste Perry's music, and think that this Zooey Deschanel look alike needs to go away from the pop consciousness and be replaced by Deschanel's wonderful pop outfit She & Him). Winehouse gets the Grammy's, Perry gets the number one smashes, yet Allen gets...well, a sub Platinum album in two countries.

Now Allen is back before Perry or Winehouse can produce a follow up (Perry is going to be living on "Hot & Cold" and "I Kissed a Girl" for the rest of her career and Winehouse is off doing something controversial, predictably), and she produced a new album completely unlike Still. It's Not Me, It's You (currently streaming on her Myspace page) still has the sassy vocals and sharp lyrics from Allen, but gone are the structures of previous top songs, ignoring the ska influences and horn arrangements in lieu of more traditional production for someone of her sort.

That sounds like some sort of condemnation, as she subtracted two things that I claimed to love about her old album and replaced them with "traditional" aspects. But that doesn't matter - the album is just fun. In just three days, I've listened to the album no less than 6 times through - in the gym, at work, driving in my car, while writing blogs...it doesn't matter. This is a perfect mood setter, making me happy regardless of what I was previously feeling.

While albums like Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion may be more sonically explosive and Andrew Bird's Noble Beast may feature a lot more musical talent, I find myself finishing Allen's album and quickly starting it over just so I can recapture the fun I was having while listening. That may not make it the best album I've listened to this year, but I'd probably say it's one of my favorites so far.

How's that for not liking girls mom?


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