Lily Allen: Our New VBF

The straight-talking pop star cuts out the BS, proving why you want her as your friend and not your enemy

Oops . . . Lily Allen is not afraid to call out other musicians, her peers or whoever is interviewing her

Oops . . . Lily Allen is not afraid to call out other musicians, her peers or whoever is interviewing her

 

Lily Allen is a divisive person. Even if you know very little about her, you probably developed an opinion of her back when she released her debut album, Alright, Still in 2006, an opinion that hasn’t really wavered, but I am here to try to change that. Sure, she’s had some bloopers in her days and butted heads with other celebs, but where the likes of Liam Gallagher and Kasabian are given the “what a lad” treatment, Allen just gets slated. There are double standards by which we judge Allen but let male musicians away with similar behaviour, or praise them for releasing albums worse than 2014’s Sheezus.

A Lily Allen YouTube hole is worth falling into. In interviews, she’s not afraid to call out other musicians, her peers or whoever is interviewing her. One perfect example of her not taking anyone’s BS is when she takes on radio presenter Jo Whiley on a music review panel. When Whiley patronises Allen for hating a song that she likes, muttering “but what does she know?”, Allen goes all out. “I’m actually going to take offence to that, Jo. ‘What does she know?’” she tsks, cutting across the deeply uncomfortable host Alex Zane, while laying into the middle-of-the-road indie rock scene of 2007. “I’ve just had enough of that boring music. I just don’t want to hear it anymore. I don’t like turning on certain people’s shows on Radio 1 and listening to the same old tripe that sells loads of records but does nothing but ruin music.” She’s dead right. And with an attitude like that, you would rather have Allen as your VBF rather than your mortal enemy.

Trigger Bang

Misdemeanours

On her fourth album No Shame, released on June 8th, Allen is owning up to her past misdemeanours but she’s not apologising for them. Self-deprecating, honest and sad, No Shame echoes what’s been said about her in the press and online, but Allen turns the accusations back to her critics. “I feel like I’m under attack all the time,” she sings on Come On Then. “I’m a bad mother, I’m a bad wife. You saw it on the socials, you read it online. If you go on record saying that you know me then why am I so lonely because no one f*cking phones me.”

Between alcohol and drug abuse, body dysmorphia, a broken marriage, a miscarriage in 2008, the stillbirth of her son in 2010, depression and constant media scrutiny, No Shame dissects the difficult moments that have turned her into who she is now, and her songwriting harks back to the sharpness of her first two albums. She opened 2009’s It’s Not Me, It’s You with Everyone’s At It, a song referring to recreational and prescriptive drug use, including herself in the “everyone”, and on Trigger Bang, the first single from her new album, she reveals that she can’t be near those people anymore: “That’s why I can’t hang with the cool gang. Everyone’s a trigger bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.”

Victims

Deeply self-aware and increasingly political, Allen has always been able to communicate that we are victims of the society that we’ve created for ourselves, most notably on The Fear, which landed her and her co-writer Greg Kurstin three Ivor Novello awards in 2010. With a memoir coming out later this year, it’s hard to imagine anything that Allen hasn’t already covered in her music or said bluntly in interviews, but with rumours that have followed her for years, such as the alleged affair with Gallagher, which she denies, 2018 is the year for Allen to set the record straight before anyone can twist her words again.

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