Naughty Little Lily

Her observations are sharp, but her tongue is sharper

PHOTO COURTESY EMI/REGAL

Ashley Goetz

PHOTO COURTESY EMI/REGAL

ARTIST: LILY ALLEN ALBUM: âÄúItâÄôs Not Me, ItâÄôs YouâÄù Lily Allen is the most authentic pop star working today. Why? She says exactly what sheâÄôs thinking, cusses, complains about stupid boys, eats what she wants and then feels bad about it. But unlike the average girl, Lily turns her adventures into cheeky pop songs instead of Sunday morning brunch gossip. ItâÄôs a talent she began to hone on her debut album âÄúAlright, StillâÄù and has only razor-sharpened on âÄúItâÄôs Not Me, ItâÄôs You.âÄù The best thing about Lily the pop artist is that she acts her age. She might fawn over some boy and their blossoming relationship in one song (âÄúWhoâÄôd Have KnownâÄù) but sheâÄôll realize heâÄôs a) bad in bed, b) selfish, and c) clingy too, in another (âÄúNot Fair.âÄù) What makes her albums so entertaining is that they tell a narrative from song to song. Maybe âÄúItâÄôs Not Me, ItâÄôs YouâÄù wouldnâÄôt be quite so charming sans LilyâÄôs adorably apparent British accent, which curls and loops words âÄî even an accusatory âÄúF— YouâÄù âÄî and renders them cute. When sheâÄôs railing against the media (âÄúThe FearâÄù) and singing âÄúIâÄôll take my clothes off/and itâÄôll be shameless/âÄôcause everyone knows/thatâÄôs how you get famousâÄù her contralto remains sweetly innocent instead of jaded and bitter. âÄúLifeâÄôs about film stars/and less about mothers/itâÄôs all about fast cars/and cussing each other.âÄù With âÄúThe Fear,âÄù LilyâÄôs tongue is firmly planted in her cheek. âÄúIt doesnâÄôt matter/âÄôcause IâÄôm packing plastic/and thatâÄôs what makes my life/so [expletive] fantastic.âÄù The majority of âÄúItâÄôs Not Me, ItâÄôs YouâÄù relies heavily on the âÄústory-song.âÄù In âÄúChinese,âÄù Lily illustrates meeting a perfect boyfriend post-airline flight and fantasizes about him making her beans on toast, taking the dog for a walk and eating Chinese before the TV. In the song âÄúHim,âÄù she wonders if God has ever âÄútaken smack or heroinâÄù and imagines his favorite band is Creedence Clearwater Revival. âÄúHimâÄù is so cutely saccharine upon first hearing that you donâÄôt realize quite what sheâÄôs singing about until the third or fourth listen. Lily, or perhaps itâÄôs her production team, utilizes the oddest variety of musical styles to create her story-songs, even klezmer, the traditional Jewish style, laden with clarinets and accordion sounds. âÄúItâÄôs Not Me, ItâÄôs YouâÄù is the next logical step in LilyâÄôs repertoire. It takes up where âÄúAlright, Still,âÄù with its slick dancey production, left off, but expounds upon it with more musical adventurousness. (The klezmer concept is totally weird in print, but listening to âÄúNot FairâÄù validates it.) Where will Lily be in five years? Can she sustain a career on snot-nosed pop songs? Who knows, but she definitely sparked the match on a whole roster of fire-spitting Britpopsters, like Kate Nash and Adele. Whereas Adele has the vocal advantage, Lily traffics in relatability. In a world of contemporaries like Beyoncé (âÄúA diva is a female version of a hustlerâÄù) and Lady GaGa (the vapid âÄúJust dance/gonna be okayâÄù), Lily AllenâÄôs candid chronicling is refreshingly honest, if a bit potty-mouthed.