It's Not Me, It's You is the second studio album by English singer and songwriter Lily Allen. It was released on 4 February 2009 by Regal Recordings and Parlophone. It was produced and co-written by Greg Kurstin, with whom Allen had previously worked on her debut studio album, Alright, Still (2006). The album represents a departure from the ska and reggae influences of its predecessor, incorporating electropop with elements of jazz and country.
Upon release, It's Not Me, It's You received positive reviews from critics, praising Allen's "sharp tongue" and calling the album "wonderful". The album was a commercial success, debuting at number one on the charts in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. It was later certified triple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), and has sold 1,016,169 copies in the UK alone. It was also certified four times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments of over 280,000 copies in Australia. The album has 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 limited-edition seven-inch vinyl for Record Store Day. Allen performed on a variety of television programs to promote the album, including Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She also embarked on her second concert tour, the It's Not Me, It's You World Tour, which visited Europe, North America, Asia, Oceania and South America.
Allen became well-known through her Myspace account, on which she started posting demo songs in 2005. The increase of popularity led to a contract with Regal Recordings. Her debut single, "Smile", was released in 2006 and topped the UK Singles Chart for two weeks. 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). The album was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 50th Grammy Awards. 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.
In April 2008, Allen announced that she would be moving in a "new direction" for her then-upcoming record. 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."
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. 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." 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." In August 2008, Allen blamed the delay in the album's release on her record company EMI. On 15 September, it was announced via her Myspace blog that the album will be released on 9 February 2009.
In July 2008, the working title of the album was confirmed as Stuck on the Naughty Step. 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 it. 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. Prior to the album's release, Allen posted a number of demos on her Myspace page. 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.
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." 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". However, Take That later did allow Allen to include the song on the album (now titled grammatically correctly as "Who'd Have Known").
Allen promoted the album worldwide. While being invited to Scott Mills' BBC Radio 1 show, Allen talked about her struggles with the paparazzi and also premiered "The Fear" by performing it live. 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. In February 2009, she was invited at The Today Show with Matt Lauer, where she performed the song after an interview. 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. Afterwards, both Allen and DeGeneres performed a rendition of Britney Spears's "Womanizer". 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. 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.
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. 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.
"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.
"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 from that which appeared on "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". The song also received much airplay on Australian radio stations Nova and Triple J, and charted at number 90 on the 2008 Triple J Hottest 100 countdown. It eventually reached number 23 on the ARIA Singles Chart. "Fuck You" also became Allen's third chart entry on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, peaking at number 68.
A 30-second sample of "22", in which Allen sings the chorus.
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"22" was released as the album's fourth official single on 14 July 2009. On 31 May, Allen stated on her Twitter page that "22" would be her next single from after revealing that the music video would be shot the next day. The video was released on 11 July 2009.
"Back to the Start" was released on seven-inch vinyl exclusively for Record Store Day on 17 April 2010, in a limited run of 1,000 copies. The song was serviced to radio in Australia in late 2009, reaching number 21 on the Australian Airplay Chart in early 2010.
|The A.V. Club||B|
|Los Angeles Times|||
It's Not Me, It's You received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 71, based on 32 reviews. 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." 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. 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". 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".
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."
In a mixed review, Charles A. Hohman of PopMatters stated "when she's infuriating, especially when she's infuriating, she's an enthralling performer, her personality taking her where her limited vocals cannot." He also commented Too often, she's treading water on songs that play like Alright outtakes, and when she tries to expand, she stumbles. He remarked that she was stuck in her own world. However praise was given to the lyrics and melodies, with Hohman stating "Yet she is more comedienne than philosopher, better at taking the piss than making a point." Allisson Franks of Consequence of Sound wrote, "Known for her upbeat melodies and rhymes, which are often comical, introspective and set to bouncy back beats, Allen decided to try something a little fresh on her next effort."
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. It was certified triple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 5 February 2010, and by May 2014, it had sold 1,016,169 copies in the United Kingdom. In the United States, the album debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 70,000 copies. As of November 2013, the album had sold 353,000 copies in the US. It debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart with 8,500 units sold in its first week. It was certified gold by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) on 18 February 2010 for sales of 40,000 units.
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. The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) certified the album four times platinum for shipments of over 280,000 copies. The album debuted at number 11 on the French Albums Chart with sales of 5,953 copies. By December 2009, It's Not Me, It's You had sold over two million copies worldwide.
|1.||"Everyone's at It"||4:38|
|5.||"I Could Say"||4:04|
|6.||"Back to the Start"||4:14|
|7.||"Never Gonna Happen"||3:27|
|9.||"Who'd Have Known" (writers: Gary Barlow, Jason Orange, Mark Owen, Howard Donald, Steve Robson, Allen, Kurstin)||3:50|
|12.||"He Wasn't There"||2:52[a]|
|Japanese edition bonus tracks|
|15.||"The Fear" (video)||3:47|
|French edition bonus track|
|13.||"22 (Vingt Deux)" (duet with Ours; writers: Allen, Kurstin, Ours)||3:09|
|Special edition bonus tracks|
|13.||"The Fear" (acoustic; producer: Morgan Nicholls)||3:28|
|14.||"22" (acoustic; producer: Nicholls)||3:08|
|15.||"Who'd Have Known" (acoustic; writer: Barlow, Orange, Owen, Donald, Robson, Allen, Kurstin; producer: Nicholls)||3:58|
|16.||"He Wasn't There" (acoustic; producer: Nicholls)||2:57|
|17.||"I Could Say" (acoustic; producer: Nicholls)||3:57|
|18.||"Womanizer" (acoustic; writer: Rafael Akinyemi, Nikesha Briscoe)||3:33|
|19.||"Mr Blue Sky" (writer: Jeff Lynne)||3:42|
|20.||"The Count (aka Hervé) & Lily Face the Fear" (producers: Kurstin, Joshua Harvey aka Hervé)||4:21|
|21.||"Not Fair" (Style of Eye Remix; producers: Kurstin, Linus Eklöw aka Style of Eye)||6:18|
|Special edition bonus DVD|
|1.||"Everyone's at It" (live in London)|
|2.||"LDN"/"Dance wiv Me" (live in London)|
|3.||"Not Fair" (live in London)|
|4.||"Him" (live in London)|
|5.||"He Wasn't There" (live in London)|
|6.||"Littlest Things" (live in London)|
|7.||"Smile" (live in London)|
|8.||"The Fear" (live in London)|
|9.||"It's Not Me, It's You" (track-by-track interview)|
|10.||"The Fear" (promo video)|
|11.||"Not Fair" (promo video)|
|12.||"22" (promo video)|
|13.||"Fuck You" (promo video)|
Credits adapted from the liner notes of It's Not Me, It's You.
|Australia (ARIA)||4× Platinum||280,000^|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||40,000^|
|Ireland (IRMA)||2× Platinum||30,000^|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000^|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Gold||15,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||3× Platinum||1,016,169|
|United States (RIAA)||353,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|Japan||4 February 2009||EMI|||
|Australia||6 February 2009|||
|United Kingdom||9 February 2009|||
|Canada||10 February 2009|||
|Sweden||11 February 2009||EMI|||