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Lily Allen: It's Not Me, It's You

Lily Allen would be the perfect girlfriend. She likes to drink and smoke. Growing up, family friend Joe Strummer played old ska records for her. Not to mention that she has a bitter wit on record that can make a man feel like a total douche, which means she wouldn't take no mess — a fact already made so hookingly clear on 2006 debut Alright, Still and its standout kiss-off track, "Smile." A few broken relationships and enough tabloid foibles to choke a Lohan later, Allen returns with sophomore album It's Not Me, It's You. She comes out swinging with a follow-up that defies pop logic, "Not Fair," which mashes sad-but-true oral-sex tales with banjo riffs straight outta Music Row. The finger-pointing "Fuck You" begins with a plinky Carpenters piano line before evolving into right-wing butt-surfing that would make Uncle Strummer pogo with glee. It's Not Me is more of a blanket indictment of celebrity culture than good-time drinking jams for girls in party dresses working dead-end jobs. First single "The Fear" finds Allen singing about seemingly every hollow-eyed plastic C-list starlet preening for paparazzi on Hollywood street corners, selling out themselves for magazine covers and free clothes. Now if only the vacant pop stars on this side of the pond would take Allen's lead... Craig Hlavaty

 
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