Lily Allen's Back and Mad at the World (Especially Robin Thicke)
It's been three long years since Lily Allen bestowed some good old-fashioned British snark on our ears, but yesterday she re-emerged with some fresh new material and, boy oh boy, it's bitchier than ever. Literally.
Before you hit play on "Hard Out Here," you might want to look over your shoulder and make sure your boss isn't there -- mostly because of the giant swipe she takes, 3.08 minutes in, at Robin Thicke's repugnant "Blurred Lines" video. Hold onto your pants, everybody, because it's a doozy...
That's right, ladies and gents! When faced with the horror of Robin Thicke spelling out the phrase "ROBIN THICKE HAS A BIG DICK" in giant silver balloon letters in the naked version of the "Blurred Lines" video, Ms. Allen decided that the best way to show him up for the foolish sleazebag he is was by dancing around in front of identical silver balloon letters reading "LILY ALLEN HAS A BAGGY PUSSY." We haven't laughed this hard since Miley Cyrus made a mockery of his stupid video at the VMAs.
Probably the greatest part of "Hard Out Here" as a video though, is the intro, where Allen throws a confused but non-phased facial expression at a record exec critiquing her round body and mutters the words: "Um...I've had two babies." Rarely do we see female pop stars so openly skewering a system that tries so hard to keep them skinny, barely clothed and in line with fascist body standards.
The lyrics go one step further and don't just mock the misogyny of the record industry, but of the outmoded societal values thrust upon women on a daily basis: "If I told you about my sex life, you'd call me a slut. When boys be talking about their bitches, no one's making a fuss. There's a glass ceiling to break..."
When the chorus kicks in with the line "Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits," it's clear that motherhood and three years of staying quiet has turned Lily Allen into a goddamn lady warrior. The sight of her trying to get the white guy record exec to twerk along with the ladies, while the line "It's hard out here for a bitch" plays, feels like a triumphant high-five to every woman who's ever rolled their eyes at this common-place music video practice.
It says something about the state of music television that when Allen's video "bitches" start writhing around on a car, pouring champagne on themselves, stuffing money in their bras and slapping each other's slow-motion-jiggling asses, it looks really, well, standard. If a kid well-fed on today's MTV videos (we're looking at you, L'il Wayne) turned "Hard Out Here" on halfway through, it's reasonably likely that they wouldn't even recognize it as a parody. This hilarious video is a much-needed reminder that the objectification of women in music videos -- particularly hip-hop ones -- is so next-level in 2013, it's literally absurd.
So let's all take a minute to applaud Lily Allen. There is nothing subtle about the onslaught -- both verbal and visual -- of "Hard Out Here," but it is a gigantic breath of fresh air right now. The fact that lines like "Don't need to shake my arse for you 'cause I've got a brain" even need to be said at this moment in history is shocking -- but we're oh-so-glad somebody's doing it.
Best of all, despite the seriousness of Lily's message, she never once loses her sense of humor here. We can't think of another female artist who would declare she had a "baggy pussy" just to fuck with another artist. And that kind of behavior doesn't just take balls, everyone -- it takes tits.