My colleague James Montgomery and I have a somewhat friendly difference of opinion about many things musical. James, it appears, favors writing hard-hitting stories about female pop stars "jumping" and "screaming," while I tend to prefer grittier exposés about the perils of the mosh pit and uplifting tales of fallen Idols reaching for redemption.
But there's one thing we always agree on: Neither of us will give an inch when it comes to Lily Allen. James, for instance, thinks the British popwreck is simply brilliant, witty and entertaining as she barrel rolls, seemingly with no shame gene, from one outrageous act to the next, frequently with one of her naughty bits hanging out.
Me? Not so much. Though initially charmed by her devil-may-care attitude, I now find her more tiresome than an Amy Winehouse health scare. So it was no surprise that we disagreed about Allen's recently unwrapped cover of Britney's "Womanizer." Producer-of-the-moment Mark Ronson debuted the song on Friday during his "Authentic Sh--" show on East Village Radio, though it's unclear whether he actually produced it.
Changing up the beat from a relentless electro hammer to the forehead into a kind of 1960s smoky girl-group trifle backed mostly by a two-note repetitive jazzy piano riff and some spare drums, Allen has set the table for her upcoming album, It's Not Me, It's You, by showing her relevance in the pop world.
Or has she? James dubbed the song "kind of boring" and said he thought it was just "all right." But I actually kind of like it. There was something about its quaintly throwback girlie vibe and bored-sounding resignation that tamed the glaring spite in the Britney version with a refreshing dose of killing-'em-with-kindness bite that, in some ways, is even more cutting than the original.
What do you think of Allen's cover?