If You Like: Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Dance Mixes Listen to: It’s You, Not Me

West London native Lily Allen’s sophomore album, “It’s Not Me, It’s You,” is anything but more of the same old music from Allen. The electronic overtones and up-tempo beats of “It’s Not Me, It’s You” heavily contrast the sunny pop sound of her debut album, “Alright, Still.” The 24-year-old pop princess compares the two albums to day and night; “I wanted some of the songs to be a lot faster, because I felt… like the show only worked in a very daytime, kind of afternoon setting,” she said in a video interview with Allen said she wanted to go darker and “dancier” on her second album to achieve a more exciting live experience at shows. “Dancier” is certainly how I would put it. When listening to the songs on the album, you can almost see the strobe lights. This is a club record—it’s the kind of music that’s perfect for dancing, and it has enough cool hooks and rhythms that you don’t really have to listen to the lyrics. Allen specializes in making great pop music that’s easy to listen to, but she layers dark or controversial lyrics on top of the music to convey a point to people who really decide to listen. Allen combines all of this with a delicious London accent. The third track on the album, “Not Fair,” exemplifies the new facets to her music. Its galloping melody (the percussion on the verse sounds like hooves) and repetitive chorus mask the fact that the lyrics are about sexual frustration: “There’s just one thing,/That’s getting in the way,/When we go up to bed you’re just no good.” The album’s lead single, “F— You” is a cheery-sounding track augmented by a soulful brass section, church bells and chipmunk vocals—I’m not kidding—in the middle of the song. Unfortunately for parents and teachers all over the world, the chorus is unbelievably catchy (and yes, it mostly consists of the vulgar title of the song). Once again, Allen has a message beneath her pleasant melodies. The song is actually a reprimand of “small-minded” people, including racists and homophobes. The first track, “Everyone’s At It,” mixes a little acoustic piano with as many synths and computer-generated beats as any of Britney Spears’s latest songs. Allen says she listened to Keane, Coldplay and hard-core dance music to get inspired to write the album. “The Fear” is a satirical look at celebrity culture with a fun dance beat and a descending electric bass beneath it. Easy guitar picking between verses softens up the hard message for the teenage masses: “I’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless/’Cause everyone knows that’s how you get famous.” “It’s Not Me, It’s You” uses all the tools of dance, club and pop music to create a new, catchy sound that transitions well from the club to an iPod to singing along in the car with your girlfriends almost seamlessly. Lily Allen’s “club pop” falls right in the middle of the pop-to-dance spectrum, between Britney Spears and Lady Gaga. Fans of either artist may enjoy this unique record. Grade: 5