How does one create that perfect pop song? Is the recipe merely a catchy beat and simple lyrics that everyone can sing along to? Perhaps it's just the right marketing? Or is there more to it than that? If you compare Lily Allen's new album with some of the other pop albums out there right now you will get your answer.
One of the biggest sensations over the last two years, Lily Allen is back with a brand new LP, cleverly entitled, It's Not Me, It's You (Capitol Records). This title suggests that the album will be full of songs about relationships, breakups and the like. While relationship issues take up a big chunk of the album, we also find Lily exploring terrain in which she has never before ventured.
There is a new sincerity in Lily's voice. In the song "Everyone's At It" she discusses the issue of drug abuse...more specifically prescription drug abuse. "You go to the doctor, you need pills for sleeping/ Well if you can convince him then I guess that's not cheating". On "Him", Lily sings about God. Basically, she claims that too many people are dying in God's name and that God doesn't know who's right and who's wrong. She also amusingly claims that God's favorite band is Credence Clear Water Revival. In "Fuck You" Lily is condemning all the bigots of the world. This song shows us that Lily Allen is still exactly who she was 2 years ago when she released her debut album, Alright, Still. Corporate label executives haven't gotten to her in an effort to tame her lyrics so that her songs will be more radio friendly. Lily proudly sings, "Fuck you, fuck you very very much/ Cause we hate what you do and we hate your whole crew/ So please don't stay in touch". We definitely won't be hearing this one on the radio or on the latest episode of Gossip Girl, but maybe it's better off that way. While songs like these don't really offer us any new insights on important issues, they still provide us with new and exciting ways to bring these topics to people's attention.
Even when Lily goes back to her familiar topic of relationships, her songs show a greater level of maturity than we saw on Alright, Still. In "Not Fair", Lily displays her displeasure over selfish lovers, singing, "Oh you're supposed to care/ But you never make me scream". While we are well used to Lily complaining about failed relationships, on this album we see a different side of Lily. On a song like "Who'd of Known" we are treated to a softer, more sentimental side. Lily sweetly sings, "Are you mine? Are you mine? Cause I stay here all the time, watching telly, drinking wine/ Who'd of known? Who'd of known? When you flash up on my phone, I no longer feel alone". "Chinese" is an equally sentimental song, again showing us this new, romantic side of Lily Allen...something that until now I wasn't sure she had.
Musically, the best word to describe this album is 'quirky'. Although it seems the quirkier the songs get, the less interesting they are. The circus like "Never Gonna Happen" can be appreciated for its bounciness and the halted accordion throughout, but the song doesn't have that same innovative catchiness that is displayed all over the rest of the album. While Allen may have missed the mark on this one, the song will still most likely be destined for main stream radio success. The last song on the album, "He Wasn't There", sounds like it could be a song from the 50s. Unfortunately this one is also one of the least exciting songs on the album.
Overall, this is an excellent pop record. If you were worried that Lily Allen would be a one album wonder you should fear no longer. Lily is more mature and making catchier music then ever before. Now if only Perez Hilton would leave her alone.