Elevate Difference

It's Not Me, It's You

I had never heard any of Lily Allen's songs until "The Fear," the first single off of It's Not Me, It's You, was released in January. I was hooked instantly; I could hardly wait until the U.S. release date for this album.

Lily Allen doesn't disappoint. She has just the right combination of angry femme, biting social commentary, and humor, paired with a talent for musical arrangement, to make this album a keeper. Part of what makes the album so strong is that you can literally feel how much of herself Allen has put into it; indeed, she told reporters that she feared her own family's reaction to the record.  "Everyone's At It" makes not-so-veiled references to a family that stays up past dawn using drugs and taking their children along for the ride, and "Back to the Start" is a heartfelt apology to Allen's estranged older sister, whom she acknowledges "will always be the taller and the prettier one." "The Fear" is a sharp jab at female consumerism. In "Fuck You," Allen minces no words when telling a neo-conservative guy where to go. The beauty of that song, in particular, is that she pairs harsh lyrics ("it's people like you/who need to get slew") with a pitch and tone that is reminiscent of a bubbly 1940s radio commercial.

Although Allen verbally slices up men who have obviously irritated the shit out of her: "Oh I lie her in the wet patch/in the middle of the bed/I'm feeling pretty damn hard done by/I've spent hours giving head" (from "Not Fair). She hints in other songs, like "Chinese," that she wouldn't mind a bit of domestic bliss.

What's not to love?

Written by: M.L. Madison, March 17th 2009

I think we're all forgetting the real issue here - Lily Allen can't sing for shit. There are plenty of women out there who do a much better job than she is but they're underground because they don't have a rich daddy. Yay for feminism!

I don't think its very good "feminist karma" for you to critique her song writing by comparing it to whatever trivia you may have heard about her upbringing. Regardless of what class she was brought up in, or where she went to school, or who her parents are.. that does not do anything to validate or dismiss what she is trying to say. Class and schooling has little to do with the struggles of many modern women. Many modern women (rich or poor) were brought up to be put down by other women (whether its our grandmothers saying we should be seen and not heard or the phys ed coach telling us to run slower and let the other girls win for a change.) In fact, I dare to say that her less than perfect credentials make her a much better candidate to speak out on behalf of girls like me, because I wasn't raised in the slums either, yet I faced struggles and hardships the same as any other girl and I believe that feminism encompasses the experiences of ALL women.

-sick of the "i had it harder than you" attitude

OK, here's the thing. I can't fault your review. Ms Allen's music is good. I have found myself singing 'The Fear' to myself several times this week. It has an awesome video, clever lyrics and a catchy tune. The usual Allen combo.But I don't like her.Now, I realise that it's not good feminist karma to do down a woman making it as a serious performer in a masculine industry. I'm all about women artistes showing solidarity. But that's kind of my point. I have literally never seen Lily Allen interviewed without hearing her slag off another woman singer. Never men, just other gutsy female singers. The other thing is her class issue. Now I know class doesn't work quite the same way in the USA as here, but basically, the daughter of a stand up comedian and a film producer, both of whom are pretty successful and well off, who has been privately educated at an all girls boarding school and has INSTANT contacts in the entertainment and film industries...has NO business playing the 'I worked my way up from the council estates (projects)' card. If she acknowledged her ACTUAL roots, fair enough. Use whatever advantages you have to make the best of your talents. But don't deny them and cite your fictional struggle from poverty to do down others. So as a feminist, in reviewing Allen's music I'd totally agree with Ms Madison. If 'feminist review' could refer to a review of Allen's OWN feminism....not so much.WG