It’s Lily’s second album and once more it’s Bridget Jones’ diaries with the gloves off. If you like reality TV shows, particularly those where celebrities air their dirty laundry, this is for you, Dahling.
We know now that Lily’s lovers mostly turn out to be selfish oafs and that everyone’s doing drugs but its really boring. Oh, and everybody else just wants to get famous quick and Lily likes a low key Chinese takeaway now and then.
As far as the lyrics are concerned, Lily is entertaining. You can’t argue that she has got a good, if ever so slightly crude turn of phrase.
What’s it with the music, though? It’s plastic pop that makes the Ting Tings sound adventurous.
So, Lily gets all worked up and the ‘fucks’ are flying… but all that over a bunch of backing tracks that sound as outrageous as a wedding band? You know, the one-man band where everything bar the singing comes out of the magic keyboard?
You see, Lily writes the lyrics but relies on co-writers for the music On the songs for ‘It’s Not Me It’s You’ she worked with Greg Kurstin, one half of US lounge duo The Bird And The Bee.
Greg does not attempt to emulate the jazzy, easy listening sound of his own band. Fair enough, I don’t think that would have suited Lily’s material at all.
What Greg came up with instead does not help either.
The music does neither convey the anger nor the ‘whatever’ shrug of the shoulders the lyrics imply. Neither does it contrast enough to make a statement. It just kind of sits between the chairs, packaging Lily’s voice in fluffy cotton wool.
‘It’s Not Me It’s You’ is busy and big in that US R&B way but lacks the bass and the beats to carry it off. The only notable exception would be Lily’s drugs lament ‘Everyone’s At It’, which is the most confident track on the album.
‘Not Fair’, the song about the otherwise perfect guy who’s crap in the sack, is the most playful track here. Lily’s tried cod-Reggae on her debut album, here you get cod-Country. For the first time I don’t mind that it sounds like a toy orchestra is playing plastic instruments - On ‘Not Fair’ it works ’cause there’s a glint of humour at work.
Curiously, Lily tried to write together with Bjorn of Swedish trio Peter, Bjorn And John - The production team behind Lykke Li. The Swedish singer explores pretty much similar territory when it comes to relationships and is every bit as outspoken as Allen - Arguably with a more elegant turn of phrase. For my money, Lykke Li has by far the more interesting and engaging album in last year’s ‘Youth Novels’. But hey, you can’t force the chemistry.
Lily also spent a day looking for common ground with Blur frontman Damon Albarn. Again, the two didn’t click. So we’re back to Kurstin, who already worked on three songs on Allen’s debut ‘Its Alright’.
Frankly, I think Lily should check out some fresh co-writing talent next time: Dan Le Sac or Yila if she likes a Hip Hop/R&B flavour, or, blimey, try Kode 9 or Burial for a complete makeover.
‘It’s Not Me It’s You’ is due out on Monday, 9th February. You can listen to it here.