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It’s Not Me’ ready for the dance floor, if not the rally

Maija Gustin | Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Last week, British songstress Lily Allen followed up her acclaimed album “Alright, Still” with “It’s Not Me, It’s You.” Allen still sounds like the same quirky pop-punk girl she was in “Alright, Still,” but has stepped away a little from her formula with this new release. While no less upbeat than “Alright, Still,” “It’s Not Me” shows Allen trying to deal with serious topics like love, sex, materialism, drugs and politics. You’d never know it, though since her songs are still perfectly tailored to the dance floor. Allen may not always succeed at making a political statement, but she does always succeed at making people want to dance.Lily Allen’s particular brand of pop may not suit the tastes of every listener, but it is infectious. Each song on “It’s Not Me, It’s You” could be a hit single. In some ways, this makes Allen’s album less cohesive, but that’s not really her goal. Each song is just meant to be a great song.The album starts off with “Everyone’s At It,” which is total old-school Lily Allen. The song is so catchy that it’s easy to forget that it’s about drug-ridden society. As a message about drugs, it’s not totally effective. At inducing head bobbing, it succeeds. Next on the album is “The Fear,” sung from the perspective of a spoiled rich girl. Again, it feels less like a song with a message and more like a catchy pop tune with an angle. Still, though, it’s good. The third track, “Not Fair” is a sequel of sorts to “Not Big” from “Alright, Still.” It’s a hilarious number about less-than-stellar boyfriends actually set to the sound of Western-inspired banjos. Enough said. “Never Gonna Happen” is one of the best songs on the album. It features the best use of accordions in a pop song in a while, if not ever. “F*** You” is the first single off the album, and it starts off sounding like a sitcom from the 70s. In reality, it’s actually an anti-Bush song, and gives some insight into European perspective. It makes for an interesting context, but the song itself is just a great pop number. “Who’d Have Known” and “Chinese,” two classic pop ballads, prove that Lily Allen does actually have some vocal ability, and that she’s not just an eccentric oddball. “It’s Not Me, It’s You” is often raunchy, crass and explicit, but Lily Allen hides it well. Her songs often have the drug-like ability of distracting from the lyrics. The lyrics specifically are very hit-or-miss, but with Allen’s sound, that doesn’t really matter. Her songs are great pieces of pop that can revel in irrelevancy. As a whole, the album is solid, but each song stands out in its own right. Lily Allen never fails at making fun music. Some of her songs are insightful political and social commentaries, while others just try to be, but she has created a great work of pop that deserves a listen.Lily Allen will be playing in Chicago on April 12 at the Vic Theatre, which will undoubtedly be a great venue for Allen’s danceable pure pop. This show is definitely worth a look.