Interviews

12/11/2013

It's Getting Hard Out Here


The new Lily Allen video has been online for about an hour, and I feel compelled to write about it, like a lot of other people will undoubtedly feel the need to. It's a song that begs for attention. It's great lyrically for a mainstream pop song, but the video - it's not THAT funny. It's knowing, it's wry, it's nudge nudge wink wink, but... I'm struggling. I like the song. But two things jump out at me initially:

1. The jokey product placement would be much funnier if it wasn't actual product placement.

2. In the same kind of way, the piss taking of all these these 'bad' 'slutty' images would be much funnier if they weren't trashing other women. In taking on a parody, the sad result is it just looks like she's not doing it properly, so ingrained are these booty shaking images in the pop lexicon. And she's mocking her female contemporaries more than the male manager who gets off lightly with some brief ass shaking and banana eating.

A third aside would be that the balls/tits makes for a neat lyrical inversion, but is problematic theoretically. I've written a whole essay on Ke$ha's dreadful song Grow A Pair and about how transphobic it is for relying on such bio-centric notions of gender, but Lily's throw away pun is basically for the greater good and you can't really throw around such accusations when she's being very un-literal. I'll publish my thoughts on Ke$ha another time, promise.

Of course (I use of course way too much) this is a pop song, and it's easy to forget that it's meant to be listened to primarily, not watched. But the first thing I did after hearing it was to go and listen to the following to check that it wasn't a sample. It's about a millisecond millitone away from being a sample... But still. Who am I to compare female popstars who happen to use piano? I want to like this so much, and it is a nice song. The thing I love most about it is that she's played on the way 'bitch' has become such a dull commonplace word nowadays that she can repeat it endless into meaningless submission. And any catchy pop song that calls out the everyday misogyny of the music industry is something to be cherished.