It's Not Me, It's You

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It's Not Me, It's You
Studio album by Lily Allen
Released 4 February 2009 (2009-02-04)
Recorded 2008
Genre Synthpop
Length 43:28
Label
Producer
Lily Allen chronology
Alright, Still
(2006)
It's Not Me, It's You
(2009)
Sheezus
(2014)
Singles from It's Not Me, It's You
  1. "The Fear"
    Released: 9 December 2008
  2. "Not Fair"
    Released: 20 March 2009
  3. "Fuck You"
    Released: 10 July 2009
  4. "22"
    Released: 24 August 2009
  5. "Who'd Have Known"
    Released: 30 November 2009
  6. "Back to the Start"
    Released: 17 April 2010

It's Not Me, It's You is the second studio album by English recording artist Lily Allen, released on 4 February 2009 by Regal Recordings and Parlophone. The album was conceived in 2008 with Allen noting a shift in musical style moving away from ska and reggae influences from her debut album Alright, Still (2006), to an electropop feel with elements of jazz and country. On It's Not Me, It's You, the singer is reunited with music producer Greg Kurstin who respectively worked on previous Allen singles and albums. Kurstin who produced the majority of the album was joined by producer Morgan Nicholls. Writing contributions came predominately Allen and Kurstin, along with a contribution from Gary Barlow.

Upon release, It's Not Me, It's You received positive reviews from critics praising Allen's "sharp tongue" and calling the album a "wonderful record." The album was a commercial success where it debuted at number on on the UK Album Charts and was later certified triple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 5 February 2010, denoting shipments in excess of 900,000 copies in the United Kingdom. It was also certified four times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) in March 2010 for shipments of over 280,000 copies in Australia and spent a full year on the ARIA Albums Chart. By December 2009, the album had sold over two million copies worldwide.

The album's lead single, "The Fear", also debuted atop the UK Singles Chart, where it remained for four consecutive weeks. Other singles include the UK top five hit "Not Fair", "Fuck You", "22" and "Who'd Have Known". The track "Back to the Start" was released as a promotional single and only on vinyl for Record Store Day. Allen performed on a variety of television programs in order to promote the album; including Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Allen also embarked on her second concert tour It's Not Me, It's You World Tour which visited Europe, North America, Asia, Oceania and South America.

Background[edit]

Allen became well-known through her Myspace account, on which she started posting demo songs in 2005.[1] The increase of popularity led to a contract with Regal Recordings.[1] Her debut single, "Smile", was released in 2006 and topped the UK Singles Chart for two weeks.[2] Allen's debut studio album, Alright, Still (2006), was released shortly after. The album was commercially successful, earning a triple platinum certification by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and a gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[3][4] The album was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 50th Grammy Awards.[5] The follow-up singles "LDN", "Littlest Things" and "Alfie" performed moderately on the charts, with "LDN" peaking at number six on the UK Singles Chart.[6]

Recording[edit]

We decided to try and make bigger sounding, more ethereal songs, real songs. I wanted to work with one person from start to finish to make it one body of work. I wanted it to feel like it had some sort of integrity. I think the first song we did was "I Could Say". That set the tone for the whole album. I think I've grown up a bit as a person and I hope it reflects that.

Allen speaking on the recording of the album in autumn of 2007.[7]

In April 2008, Allen announced that she would be moving in a "new direction" for her then-upcoming record.[8] A year later, she described the album's sound in the April 2009 issue of Teen Vogue, saying it was "quite fun" and had "loads of different types of music—country, jazz, and electronic." She continued on to say, "I wanted to do something danceable, to make the gigs more interesting for me and the people watching."[9]

Allen recorded most of the album at Eagle Rock Studios in Los Angeles with producer Greg Kurstin of the band The Bird and the Bee.[10] Of the songwriting process, she said, "Greg builds the chords up and I just sing along and make up the words and then once you've got the bare song, we decide which way we're gonna go with the production."[11] In May 2008, Allen told The Sunday Mirror that the album was nearly finished. Allen said of the album: "I've worked so hard. My next album is nearly finished. I'm on a two-week break and then I'm starting a massive promotional tour."[12] In August 2008, Allen blamed the delay in the album's release on her record company EMI.[13] On 15 September, it was announced via her Myspace blog that the album will be released on 9 February 2009.[14]

Release[edit]

In July 2008, the working title of the album was confirmed as Stuck on the Naughty Step.[11] On 7 October at the BMI Awards, Allen announced that the album title had been changed to It's Not Me, It's You, due to the fact that she "lived with [the original title] for too long" and got bored of the original title. On 29 October, Allen announced the album would be released in the United States on 10 February 2009. The track listings were also released. She described the sound as bigger and a more ethereal sound. She noted she has grown as a person and feels the album will have some sort of integrity.[10] Prior to the album's release, Allen posted a number of demos on her Myspace page.[15] The first two to appear were "I Could Say" and "I Don't Know" on 20 March 2008, the latter of which was retitled and released as the album's lead single, "The Fear". Based on the first two demos, Digital Spy described her new artistic direction as more mature, more reflective and more electronic.[16]

A third, politically charged clip was later posted, with the titles "Guess Who Batman" and later "Get with the Brogram", finally appearing as "GWB". Despite both working titles sharing initials with George W. Bush, Allen wrote that "this song is not a direct attack at anyone, it was originally written about the BNP in the UK but then I felt this issue has become relevant pretty much everywhere, we are the youth, we can make coolness for our future, its up to us. Go green and hate hate."[17] The song was retitled "Fuck You" for the album version. Allen posted a fourth song on her Myspace page, called "Who'd of Known", noting that the song had been recorded for the album but would not be included due to legal issues since the chorus is musically similar to the Take That song "Shine".[18] However, Take That later did allow Allen to include the song on the album (now titled grammatically correctly as "Who'd Have Known").[18] On 2 February, Allen posted all twelve tracks from her album to listen to on her Myspace profile page.

Promotion[edit]

Allen performing in Paris in May 2009

On 13 December 2008, Allen unveiled a cover of Britney Spears's song "Womanizer". When asked, Allen stated Spears was a "goddess" and that her Circus album was "amazing". Allen said of the cover song, "We did it for fun with the guys [producers] in the studio, it was really great and fun."[19]

Allen promoted the album worldwide. While being invited to the BBC show hosted by Scott Mills, Allen talked about her struggles with the paparazzi and also premiered "The Fear" by performing it live.[20] Other live performances of the song include the Sound on BBC 2 with Nick Grimshaw and Annie Mac, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, the Orange unsignedAct and The Sunday Night Project.[21] In February 2009, she was invited at The Today Show with Matt Lauer, where she performed the song after an interview.[22] The same month, she made an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and while she was singing, DeGeneres freely dispensed copies of It's Not Me, It's You to the audience.[23] Afterwards, both Allen and DeGeneres performed a rendition of Spears's "Womanizer".[23] Allen included the song on the setlist of her It's Not Me, It's You World Tour, as part of the encore. "The Fear" was also performed at the 2010 BRIT Awards, as the opening song. Allen arrived on stage sitting on a rocket hoisted in the air, while wearing a black corset dress. She was later joined on stage by paratroopers dressed in pink military camouflage and women with Silver Cross prams.[24] She performed "The Fear" and "Fuck You" in France on Le Grand Journal de Canal+ and sang "The Fear" on NRJ Radio.

Allen performed "The Fear" and "Not Fair" at Sessions@AOL. She also went to Australia to promote the album where she appeared on talk show Rove Live where she performed "The Fear", "Not Fair" and "22", and Triple J radio station where she performed "The Fear", "Not Fair" and "He Wasn't There". She also performed "The Fear" on So You Think You Can Dance Australia. She performed "The Fear" on the Japanese show Music Station. She performed "Not Fair" on the UK TV show T4 and was interviewed about the album on The One Show. Allen performed songs off the album and old hits on Radio 1's Big Weekend and at the London nightclub G-A-Y. The album received further promotion with her 2009–10 It's Not Me, It's You World Tour.

Singles[edit]

Allen stated on her official website that "The Fear" had been chosen as the lead single. The song had its radio premiere via on The Scott Mills Show on 1 December 2008. The song's official music video premiered on 4 December at Channel 4, but it was leaked before the official release date; it was uploaded on YouTube two hours before the official premiere.[25] The song was officially released on 8 December 2008, topping the UK Singles Chart for four consecutive weeks and becoming Allen's second number-one single in the UK.[26]

"Not Fair" was released digitally on 20 March 2009 and as a CD single on 16 May. "Not Fair" was played by DJ Ken Bruce on BBC Radio 2 days before the release of the album, and was heavily edited to 2:04, removing the line "Oh I lie here in the wet patch in the middle of the bed, I'm feeling pretty damn hard done by, I've spent ages giving head". The single reached number five on the UK Singles Chart.[6]

"Fuck You" was released as the album's third single on 19 May 2009. "Fuck You" was released on the Australian iTunes store on 22 April, available as a censored version different to that which appeared on the "The Fear" EP, and the normal album version. The track peaked at number nine on the Czech Airplay Chart in late December 2008, under the demo name "Guess Who Batman".[27] The song also received much airplay on Australian radio stations Nova and Triple J, and charted at number ninety on the 2008 Triple J Hottest 100 countdown. It eventually reached number twenty-three on the ARIA Singles Chart.[28] "Fuck You" also became Allen's third chart entry on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, peaking at number sixty-eight.[29]

A 30-second sample of "22", in which Allen sings the chorus.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"22" was released as the album's fourth official single on 14 July 2009. On 31 May, Lily stated that "22" would be her next single from her Twitter page after revealing that the music video would be shot the next day: "On my way home, video shoot for 22 tomorrow, very exciting x". The video was released on 11 July 2009.

"Who'd Have Known" was the fifth and final official single (fourth in the United Kingdom) from the album, released on 23 November 2009. In the US, it was released on 13 November 2009.[30]

"Back to the Start" received airplay in Australia, charting in nightly radio countdowns, serving as Australia's fifth (sixth overall) single from the album.[31] It peaked at number twenty-one on the Australian Airplay Chart.[32]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 71/100[33]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[34]
Robert Christgau A[35]
Drowned in Sound 6/10[36]
Entertainment Weekly B+[37]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[38]
NME 8/10[39]
Pitchfork Media 6.6/10[40]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[41]
Spin 7/10[42]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[43]

It's Not Me, It's You received positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 71, based on 32 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[33] Reviewing for The Observer, Garry Mulholland awarded the album five out of five, calling this a "wonderful record," and added that it is "a pop album brave enough to have a go at defining the times."[44] James Skinner of Drowned in Sound echoed these sentiments, stating that "when Lily Allen is at the top of her game, she is the (im)perfect pop star for our times" in a generally positive review.[36] Clash concluded, "Britain's mouthy pop idol returns triumphantly and with the brawny guts to stick with what she knows best", after commenting that Allen "probably has enough personal ammunition to fuel a ten-year career of brutally autobiographical albums".[45] Mikael Wood of Billboard stated the album is "hardly the grown-up buzz-kill it might have been", thanks to "Allen's still-sharp lyrical wit and an exceedingly crafty production job by Greg Kurstin." Wood also praised in particular the track "Him", calling it an "irresistible tune".[46]

The album was favourably reviewed by The Daily Telegraph. Reviewer Neil McCormick praised her more personal songs on the album: "It is when she turns her sharp tongue to her own affairs of the heart that Allen's growing adventurousness and lyrical confidence really pay off....But in particular 'Who'd Have Known' is a tender evocation of friendship turning to love, in which the detail is telling and Allen's vocal performance positively glows with easy affection. On such songs, Allen still sounds like a real person telling us the most intimate details of her real life, only with better hooks." McCormick also praised the lead single as "superb" and "an ironic declaration of celebrity superficiality set to a pulsing, sleekly modern electro dance backing."[47]

Commercial performance[edit]

It's Not Me, It's You debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, selling 112,568 copies in its first week of release.[48] It was certified triple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 5 February 2010, denoting shipments in excess of 900,000 copies in the United Kingdom.[49] In the United States, the album debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 70,000 copies.[50] As of November 2013, the album had sold 353,000 copies in the US.[51] It debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart with 8,500 units sold in its first week.[52] It was certified gold by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) on 18 February 2010 for sales of 40,000 units.[53]

In Australia, It's Not Me, It's You entered the ARIA Albums Chart at number one and spent three non-consecutive weeks atop the chart.[54] The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) certified the album four times platinum for shipments of over 280,000 copies.[55] The album debuted at number eleven on the French Albums Chart with sales of 5,953 copies.[56] By December 2009, It's Not Me, It's You had sold over two million copies worldwide.[57]

Track listings[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Everyone's at It"   Kurstin 4:38
2. "The Fear"  
  • Allen
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 3:27
3. "Not Fair"  
  • Allen
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 3:21
4. "22"  
  • Allen
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 3:06
5. "I Could Say"  
  • Allen
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 4:04
6. "Back to the Start"  
  • Allen
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 4:14
7. "Never Gonna Happen"  
  • Allen
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 3:27
8. "Fuck You"  
  • Allen
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 3:43
9. "Who'd Have Known"   Kurstin 3:50
10. "Chinese"  
  • Allen
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 3:28
11. "Him"  
  • Allen
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 3:18
12. "He Wasn't There"  
  • Allen
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 2:52

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of It's Not Me, It's You.[61]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[55] 4× Platinum 280,000^
Belgium (BEA)[98] Platinum 30,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[99] Gold 40,000^
France (SNEP)[100] Platinum 100,000*
Ireland (IRMA)[101] 2× Platinum 30,000x
New Zealand (RMNZ)[102] Platinum 15,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[103] Gold 15,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[49] 3× Platinum 900,000^
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[104] Platinum 1,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label
Japan[58] 4 February 2009 EMI
Australia[105] 6 February 2009
Germany[106]
Italy[107]
Ireland[108]
United Kingdom[109] 9 February 2009
France[59] EMI
Canada[110] 10 February 2009
United States[111] Capitol Records
Sweden[112] 11 February 2009 EMI

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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