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Lily Allen - '22'

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Fraser McAlpine | 12:52 UK time, Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Lily Allen

Hmm... I'm not sure what happened with the Lily Allen singles-release programme there. I know there was a video made for...well it's the song on her album with a title which is definitely too rude for public consumption. The one where she calls out someone for being a racist and homophobe, and then swears at them in a righteous but very cute fashion. Definitely not the kind of song you could write about on a family-friendly blog like this one without the risk of getting yelled at by someone.

It was a really good video too, it didn't illustrate the lyrics particularly, mainly because they really didn't need acting out. Course the censored version did rather leave you with the impression that the main hookline of the chorus was aimed at someone in a queue.

And not just half-heartedly in a queue either. Very, very much in one.

(Here's the video. Two words: Bog. Standards.)

This song is nowhere near as contentious. It's a thumbnail sketch of a girl who is a little bit older than Lily herself, who's starting to weary of the party lifestyle, and who dreams of being made complete by some knight in shining armour. Why, Lily argues, should anyone have to sell themselves short in this way, when there's a whole world to be getting on with?

Which would be all very Britpop and sneery - seriously, how many Britpop songs were thinly-veiled digs at people just getting on with their lives, in suburbs, and not really worrying about where they fitted into the pantheon of classic British rock like the singers in Britpop bands did? Who's being pathetic here, really? - except Lily clearly subscribes to the idea that if you point a finger at someone, you're actually pointing three back at yourself.

This isn't one of those songs where the singer is saying "I will never end up like that, I couldn't bear it!", as I said, there have been enough of those. This is more of a "should I find myself in this situation, I hope I remember what it feels like to be able to front my way out of it", with a side order of righteous "why do people put so much pressure on women once they hit their thirties anyway? That's rubbish!"

All delivered in that soft, steely Lily coo, over a swinging backbeat, without a single cuss-word to spoil things for the kiddies. It's kind of perfect in its way, although not the most obvious stand-out single from the album.

There again, the obvious, stand-out track was no use as a single, so it's swings and roundabouts...

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: August 10th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    I kinda like this song, the verses are incisive and interesting. However, I really feel that the chorus lets this song down.

    "It's sad but it's true how society says her life is already over"

    Any song that contains the word 'society' is pretentious in my books and I just can't hack listening to it.

    Cool video though, I only noticed how she keeps changing from nice to messy after a few views. Subtle.
    Apparently she was due to do a lot more ballroom dancing in it until she realised she's a bad dancer. Least she knows.

  • Comment number 2.

    Has anyone else noticed how the piano rif going through the unashamedly and enticingly vulgar "**** You" is quite paradoxically similar to that used in one of the most sickening yet somehow enticingly sweet love songs ever written - "Close to You" by the Carpenters..?
    I think a mash-up is definitely in order.."Why do birds suddenly Appear, every time **** You, Just like me, you want to (be close to) **** You"... "I think you're a racist, can't even tie my laces... close to youuu"

  • Comment number 3.

    The slightly rude song you mention was all over the radio in France when I was there recently with some friends, played uncensored in the daytime of course which gave us no end of amusement. The European release would explain why there's a video, but I don't think the record company would risk releasing the single in an English-speaking country.

    As for '22', this song is almost exactly what I expect Lily Allen to sound like when I think of her. It's not bad, but a bit boring, and it really doesn't grab me in the same way 'The Fear' did.

  • Comment number 4.

    If this had been the first song off the new album, and we hadn't all heard the rest of the album I think we would be a lot more impressed than we seem to be.

    I agree with Dan Rhyn, its very much Lily Allen by the numbers (not a bad thing), but I don't want to listen to it over and over like The Fear.

  • Comment number 5.

    Gotta love a bit Lily. Good song, but as stated before, it's like all her other stuff, which isn't a bad thing though.

  • Comment number 6.

    This song is probably one of the weaker tracks off a absolutely top rate album. Massive fan of iy and as Mike said above, released as the first track this may have been better recieved. However most people have the album and have made their minds up either way now.

    Btw nice to see some new faces on the blog. Is this as a result of it getting more radio attention now?


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