Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Lily Allen: It's Not Me It's You [Capitol, 2009]
She is too a role model--for chart queens, bohemians born-and-raised, and paparazzi victims everywhere. True, her synth-pop album debuted below India.Arie at five before its SoundScan swan dive. But even diving she's more graceful than most, and she has every expectation of popping out of the pool and climbing the ladder again, which is how her first one went gold. Here the modestly likable, oddly uncategorizable singer of Alright, Still emerges as that rare thing, a vocalist of genuine technical command who sounds like no one else--and even rarer, like everygirl at the same time. The snarky lyricist of Alright, Still achieves new amalgams of aesthetic specificity and masscult applicability--the love song "Who'd Have Known," the dad song "He Wasn't There," even the God song "Him." She does synth-pop right not by providing a template but by demonstrating its adaptability. Pink, relax. Christina, quiet songs about your baby beckon. Kelly, stop flexing your vocal cords and let your brain do the emoting. A