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Pop - Released February 9, 2009 | Parlophone UK

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At the height of Pulp's fame, Jarvis Cocker channeled all his existential dread about celebrity into a chilling epic called "The Fear." Ten years later, Lily Allen -- the funniest British pop star since Jarvis and perhaps the best -- uses the same title to explore paralyzing fame, but instead of turning inward, Lily deflects, pushing all her anxiety into a Paris Hilton wannabe, a "weapon of massive consumption" that we know isn't Lily herself because this girl "doesn't care about clever." Lily, of course, cares very, very much about clever: it's how she defines herself as an artist and as a persona. Her quips are precise in her lyrics and savage in public, as evidenced when she drunkenly baited her co-presenter Elton John at a British awards show. Such displays tend to obscure her considerable skills as a storyteller, a gift that also gets buried beneath tabloid headlines that place her among pop tarts and princesses. Lily is attracted and repelled by fame, adoring the limelight but neither the company or how it forces personal problems to the forefront, and all these contradictions fuel her second album, It's Not Me, It's You. Like many a bright pop star before her, Allen is feeling a little bit older than her 23 years, knowing that the landscape of her life is changing, and she's dreading her 30s, which still feel very far away. Lily doesn't state this outright, of course: she puts it into the character sketch of "22," just like how she deals with the blizzard of cocaine and pills on "Everyone's at It," registering her sneering disdain for a social scene she's outgrowing yet not quite ready to leave behind. Far from being a crutch, this narrative distancing is Lily's strength: unlike so many of her too-sensitive peers, she doesn't indiscriminately spill emotions onto the page, she picks her targets, choosing to reveal personal secrets we already know -- tellingly, she never addresses her 2008 miscarriage, but happily serves up her dysfunctional relationships with her parents, something that has provided endless column inches in gossip rags. If there's an element of Lily picking low-hanging fruit here and on "The Fear" and on the George W. Bush kiss-off "F*** You" -- or even "Not Fair," a cousin to "Not Big," where Allen laments a lover who is perfect in every way except his inability to make her scream -- the key to any story is how it's told, and telling is Lily's strength, how she ferrets out bypassed details or delivers a well-worn punchline. It's Not Me pushes this talent to the forefront, in part because she works with only one collaborator here: Greg Kurstin, half of the Bird and the Bee and responsible for several cuts on Alright, Still but not the big hits "Smile" and "LDN," which were produced by Mark Ronson. Without Ronson, Lily isn't quite so glitzy or glammy, she even flirts with adult pop without succumbing to tedium. Kurstin doesn't avoid pop hooks or cheeky camp -- "F*** You" galumphs by on a two-step, "He Wasn't There" is music hall pastiche, and "Never Gonna Happen" gives Lily plenty of room to be coyly disingenuous -- but It's Not Me, It's You streamlines Allen's eccentricities and bad habits, holding together in a way the gloriously messy Alright, Still never quite managed. There's a slight drawback to this cohesion -- It's Not Me never hits heights as blinding as "Smile" or "LDN" -- but this approach does wind up spotlighting just how special a pop star Lily Allen is, how she captures all that's wretched and glorious about her time without falling into any of its traps, probably because she's clever enough to avoid them in the first place. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released May 22, 2009 | Parlophone UK

Like most British pop, Lily Allen's debut album, Alright, Still, overflows with impeccably shiny, creative productions. However, Allen attempts to set herself apart from the likes of Rachel Stevens, Natasha Bedingfield, and Girls Aloud with a cheeky, (mostly) amusing vindictive streak in her lyrics that belies the sugarcoated sounds around them. You know exactly what she means when she says her ex is "not big whatsoever" on "Not Big"; later, she revels in being the one that got away on "Shame for You." However, this nice-then-naughty approach is at its best on Alright, Still's singles, which open the album in a one-two-three punch. Another ex-boyfriend kiss-off, "Smile," has a silky verse melody that just barely conceals her spite, which finally spills over on the chorus: "At first, when I see you cry/It makes me smile." But even here, Allen keeps her revenge sweet -- she sounds like she's singing about how ice cream or puppies or being in love makes her smile, which gives the song an extra sting. "Knock 'Em Out" is an even sassier, more stylized battle of the sexes than the Streets' "Fit But You Know It" (and could very well be the response from the girl in Mike Skinner's song). And "LDN" is a glorious summer confection, even if "it's all lies" underneath the Lord Kitchener sample and "sun is in the sky" chorus. Alright, Still's production and arrangements, courtesy of Greg Kurstin, Mark Ronson, and Futurecut, balance Allen's tart observations with a backdrop of pop-grime beats and freewheeling, feel-good ska that makes her sound playful and kittenish instead of just catty. While the album doesn't exactly go downhill after its opening salvo, it does lose some steam, particularly with "Take What You Take," a song that feels out of character with the rest of Alright, Still because it's uncharacteristically dull, and "Alfie," which falls especially flat as the album's final song. Allen softens her tough-girl pose more successfully on "Little Things," a ballad that celebrates the mundane moments of a dying relationship ("You'd take me out shopping and all we'd buy was trainers/As if we ever needed anything to entertain us") and "Everything's Just Wonderful," where "bureaucrats that won't give me a mortgage" are the targets of her ire instead of a previous (or soon-to-be previous) boyfriend. As with Nellie McKay (another young, opinionated woman eager to make herself the maverick in her chosen style of music), the dichotomy between Allen's sweet sound and ironic lyrics could be seen as either witty or clever-clever. Still, enough of Alright, Still works -- as pure pop and on the meta level Allen aims for -- to make the album a fun, summery fling, and maybe more. [The U.S. version of Alright, Still includes a remix of "Smile" and the 50 Cent parody "Nan You're a Window Shopper" as well as U-MYX software, which allows listeners to make their own remixes of "Smile" and "Knock 'Em Out" -- not an essential addition, but a surprisingly fun one nonetheless.] © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Pop - Released February 9, 2009 | Parlophone UK

At the height of Pulp's fame, Jarvis Cocker channeled all his existential dread about celebrity into a chilling epic called "The Fear." Ten years later, Lily Allen -- the funniest British pop star since Jarvis and perhaps the best -- uses the same title to explore paralyzing fame, but instead of turning inward, Lily deflects, pushing all her anxiety into a Paris Hilton wannabe, a "weapon of massive consumption" that we know isn't Lily herself because this girl "doesn't care about clever." Lily, of course, cares very, very much about clever: it's how she defines herself as an artist and as a persona. Her quips are precise in her lyrics and savage in public, as evidenced when she drunkenly baited her co-presenter Elton John at a British awards show. Such displays tend to obscure her considerable skills as a storyteller, a gift that also gets buried beneath tabloid headlines that place her among pop tarts and princesses. Lily is attracted and repelled by fame, adoring the limelight but neither the company or how it forces personal problems to the forefront, and all these contradictions fuel her second album, It's Not Me, It's You. Like many a bright pop star before her, Allen is feeling a little bit older than her 23 years, knowing that the landscape of her life is changing, and she's dreading her 30s, which still feel very far away. Lily doesn't state this outright, of course: she puts it into the character sketch of "22," just like how she deals with the blizzard of cocaine and pills on "Everyone's at It," registering her sneering disdain for a social scene she's outgrowing yet not quite ready to leave behind. Far from being a crutch, this narrative distancing is Lily's strength: unlike so many of her too-sensitive peers, she doesn't indiscriminately spill emotions onto the page, she picks her targets, choosing to reveal personal secrets we already know -- tellingly, she never addresses her 2008 miscarriage, but happily serves up her dysfunctional relationships with her parents, something that has provided endless column inches in gossip rags. If there's an element of Lily picking low-hanging fruit here and on "The Fear" and on the George W. Bush kiss-off "F*** You" -- or even "Not Fair," a cousin to "Not Big," where Allen laments a lover who is perfect in every way except his inability to make her scream -- the key to any story is how it's told, and telling is Lily's strength, how she ferrets out bypassed details or delivers a well-worn punchline. It's Not Me pushes this talent to the forefront, in part because she works with only one collaborator here: Greg Kurstin, half of the Bird and the Bee and responsible for several cuts on Alright, Still but not the big hits "Smile" and "LDN," which were produced by Mark Ronson. Without Ronson, Lily isn't quite so glitzy or glammy, she even flirts with adult pop without succumbing to tedium. Kurstin doesn't avoid pop hooks or cheeky camp -- "F*** You" galumphs by on a two-step, "He Wasn't There" is music hall pastiche, and "Never Gonna Happen" gives Lily plenty of room to be coyly disingenuous -- but It's Not Me, It's You streamlines Allen's eccentricities and bad habits, holding together in a way the gloriously messy Alright, Still never quite managed. There's a slight drawback to this cohesion -- It's Not Me never hits heights as blinding as "Smile" or "LDN" -- but this approach does wind up spotlighting just how special a pop star Lily Allen is, how she captures all that's wretched and glorious about her time without falling into any of its traps, probably because she's clever enough to avoid them in the first place. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 8, 2018 | Parlophone UK

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Sheezus, Lily Allen’s last album released in 2014, wasn’t really a success. But this didn’t really have an effect on the Brit, who has changed a lot since. Gone are the rock’n’roll black hair, the punk platinum blonde is unleashed! No Shame has a suitable name. Did Allen find her rebel side again to conceive an album centered on herself? The head up high and comfortable with herself, she triggers an emotional bomb, of which she seems rather proud. This autobiographical work tells, from a rather feminist point of view, the story of the separation of her parents, but also of her own, these painful moments after which you’ve got to bounce back. Borrowing African sounds and a hint of Auto-tune, Your Choice introduces a new Lily Allen alongside Burna Boy. You want to dance and shrug as if to say: we’re breaking up but in the end I don’t care. But reality quickly catch up with her. She is touching on Apples, on which she reveals pages from her intimacy. Lily Allen then evokes the memory of her parents’ divorce with her reedy voice on a few accords plastered with extreme simplicity. Then it’s her own she highlights with her desire to not make anyone suffer, that she immediately counters by labeling that a cliché. Twelve years ago, Lily Allen opened the way for female singers full of boldness and rage, but on No Shame, she reminds us that she is their queen. © Clara Bismuth/Qobuz
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Pop - Released November 10, 2013 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released July 17, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released May 22, 2009 | Parlophone UK

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released July 17, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released January 20, 2014 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released February 9, 2009 | Parlophone UK

Booklet
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released May 22, 2009 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released June 8, 2018 | Parlophone UK

Sheezus, Lily Allen’s last album released in 2014, wasn’t really a success. But this didn’t really have an effect on the Brit, who has changed a lot since. Gone are the rock’n’roll black hair, the punk platinum blonde is unleashed! No Shame has a suitable name. Did Allen find her rebel side again to conceive an album centered on herself? The head up high and comfortable with herself, she triggers an emotional bomb, of which she seems rather proud. This autobiographical work tells, from a rather feminist point of view, the story of the separation of her parents, but also of her own, these painful moments after which you’ve got to bounce back. Borrowing African sounds and a hint of Auto-tune, Your Choice introduces a new Lily Allen alongside Burna Boy. You want to dance and shrug as if to say: we’re breaking up but in the end I don’t care. But reality quickly catch up with her. She is touching on Apples, on which she reveals pages from her intimacy. Lily Allen then evokes the memory of her parents’ divorce with her reedy voice on a few accords plastered with extreme simplicity. Then it’s her own she highlights with her desire to not make anyone suffer, that she immediately counters by labeling that a cliché. Twelve years ago, Lily Allen opened the way for female singers full of boldness and rage, but on No Shame, she reminds us that she is their queen. © Clara Bismuth/Qobuz
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Pop - Released November 17, 2013 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released May 5, 2014 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Parlophone UK

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released May 22, 2009 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released February 9, 2009 | Parlophone UK

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At the height of Pulp's fame, Jarvis Cocker channeled all his existential dread about celebrity into a chilling epic called "The Fear." Ten years later, Lily Allen -- the funniest British pop star since Jarvis and perhaps the best -- uses the same title to explore paralyzing fame, but instead of turning inward, Lily deflects, pushing all her anxiety into a Paris Hilton wannabe, a "weapon of massive consumption" that we know isn't Lily herself because this girl "doesn't care about clever." Lily, of course, cares very, very much about clever: it's how she defines herself as an artist and as a persona. Her quips are precise in her lyrics and savage in public, as evidenced when she drunkenly baited her co-presenter Elton John at a British awards show. Such displays tend to obscure her considerable skills as a storyteller, a gift that also gets buried beneath tabloid headlines that place her among pop tarts and princesses. Lily is attracted and repelled by fame, adoring the limelight but neither the company or how it forces personal problems to the forefront, and all these contradictions fuel her second album, It's Not Me, It's You. Like many a bright pop star before her, Allen is feeling a little bit older than her 23 years, knowing that the landscape of her life is changing, and she's dreading her 30s, which still feel very far away. Lily doesn't state this outright, of course: she puts it into the character sketch of "22," just like how she deals with the blizzard of cocaine and pills on "Everyone's at It," registering her sneering disdain for a social scene she's outgrowing yet not quite ready to leave behind. Far from being a crutch, this narrative distancing is Lily's strength: unlike so many of her too-sensitive peers, she doesn't indiscriminately spill emotions onto the page, she picks her targets, choosing to reveal personal secrets we already know -- tellingly, she never addresses her 2008 miscarriage, but happily serves up her dysfunctional relationships with her parents, something that has provided endless column inches in gossip rags. If there's an element of Lily picking low-hanging fruit here and on "The Fear" and on the George W. Bush kiss-off "F*** You" -- or even "Not Fair," a cousin to "Not Big," where Allen laments a lover who is perfect in every way except his inability to make her scream -- the key to any story is how it's told, and telling is Lily's strength, how she ferrets out bypassed details or delivers a well-worn punchline. It's Not Me pushes this talent to the forefront, in part because she works with only one collaborator here: Greg Kurstin, half of the Bird and the Bee and responsible for several cuts on Alright, Still but not the big hits "Smile" and "LDN," which were produced by Mark Ronson. Without Ronson, Lily isn't quite so glitzy or glammy, she even flirts with adult pop without succumbing to tedium. Kurstin doesn't avoid pop hooks or cheeky camp -- "F*** You" galumphs by on a two-step, "He Wasn't There" is music hall pastiche, and "Never Gonna Happen" gives Lily plenty of room to be coyly disingenuous -- but It's Not Me, It's You streamlines Allen's eccentricities and bad habits, holding together in a way the gloriously messy Alright, Still never quite managed. There's a slight drawback to this cohesion -- It's Not Me never hits heights as blinding as "Smile" or "LDN" -- but this approach does wind up spotlighting just how special a pop star Lily Allen is, how she captures all that's wretched and glorious about her time without falling into any of its traps, probably because she's clever enough to avoid them in the first place. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 2, 2014 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released April 26, 2019 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Parlophone UK