Well, why review one Lily Allen single when you can review two? No, don’t answer that. Last night I talked about nice-as-pie Christmas cash-in “Somewhere only we know” but we were surprised last week with the debut of another song that seems to be for her upcoming third album.
Now I always quite liked Lily Allen. It took me a little while as she surfed in on a wave of hype, but she’s released plenty of great songs over the course of only two albums, so I’d always be interested to hear what she’s got to say. I thought she was retiring anyway?
Either way, fresh from having two kids, she’s ready to make herself heard again with a typically brash and unapologetic comeback. “Hard out here” isn’t the first song about gender inequality, but Lily puts her trademark snark into this, decrying the pressure on women to look amazing and get a husband before their looks fade.
The music video focuses on female roles in music videos, revolving around an urban-styled bootyfest, with much hair whipping and twerking to be had, under the direction of a fusty old record label exec.
Again nothing we haven’t heard before, (think “Stupid girls” by Pink for a start) but still a statement worth making, particularly since 7 years have passed since that video and things are largely the same as they were. I was a little surprised at the arrival of the balloons, declaring that Lily has a baggy pussy. I guess that’s what happens after you have two kids though.
The thing that maybe grates a bit is how far they take the parody in the song, it’s catchy and instant, but the use of autotune is painfully obvious but only to the extent where it feels like it’s being used for real, rather than another observation on talentless musicians relying on it. She doesn’t have a big voice, which is fine but it feels like a bit of a double standard to use in a song like this. Also, if that’s not an actual “Superfreak” sample, Rick James needs to call a lawyer, stat!
But it’s good to have her back, and judging by how well this campaign has started off it’s almost like she never left. If it’s hard out here, she’s not making it look hard. I just hope there’s something as brilliant as “The Fear” waiting in the wings. THEN things will really get interesting.