British Music is undeniably packed with a variety of sounds,tastes and so called natural ‘talent’.
Most of this ‘raw ability’ being packages of television shows, such as ‘X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent’. Annually the most successful ones regurgitate a song that is inevitable for the number one slot. The unsuccessful ones sink back into reality never to be heard of again. But I question, why would people want television Guru’s like Simon Cowell to manufacture an uncertain career? What British Music was lacking, was a brash, outspoken cockney with not an achievement to her name. Queue, Lily Allen, found in the darkest realms, Hammersmith, West London. But with so many obstacles to overcome, would her fire for performing evaporate away just like so many others?
After years of trying to get a deal, and a popular fan base on ‘Myspace’, she had enough recognition to fire her bullet into the heart of the British music scene. Her first cartridge shot ‘Smile’, contained optimistic melodies and cutting edge lyrics that were the perfect barbecue, summer anthem that had the listeners singing along. While the success of ‘Smile’ was epic, it only appeared in the wake of ‘Alright, Still’. The album pushed boundaries of musical art, and made itself an album to be heard and recognised. But, what made this record so special compared to any other debut album, and fulfil the high expectations of it?
Many fooled by Lily’s charming, pixie voice and song delivery, never suspected that she’s a firecracker. Armed with an album full of sharp wit and sailor’s diction, she conveys biting lyrics and humorous insults with such sass and attitude. It landed in the penultimate position of two, behind Indie Rockers, ‘Razorlight’. She seems to revel in playing the jaded, cynical girl shown in some of her sunny pop tracks. One being very memorable, ‘Not Big’ is a lengthy mocking about a former lover’s natural shortcomings. Blatantly snotty and rude, the public fell in love with this ‘Chavy Delight’ making it nearly impossible not to laugh along with her.
Even though Lily was terribly talented, her fiery temperament has gotten her into some bitterly cold situations with other famous faces. Most of the feuds were being fuelled by the media, hoping to fill inches in their magazines and newspapers. A couple of times where she has been found drunk, within hours, it graced the covers of major publications, worldwide. At this time, she saw herself as the Medias comic and she was concerned about how the media portrayed her to young women.
Because she was only twenty-one years of age, young people could relate to her. She came from a troubled background, with a reconstituted family so people understood her situation. Even the so called ‘Chav’ was able to set her own trend with girls across the Untied Kingdom. Allen's big, gold earrings, Adidas trainees and over-the-top, vibrant prom dresses, had parents rising more than a few eyebrows. Having many, question her methods of influence, was she capable of repeating the success ‘Alright, Still brought, silence her doubters and tame the negative pressure?
Early 2009, ‘The Fear’ was released, a song about how the world is becoming, increasing materialistic and the dependency for fame. Being very popular not only with fans, but with critics, it pushed the infamous ‘Lady Gaga, Just Dance’ off the number one spot and regained for four weeks, consecutively. Then a short time after, ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ was released. This was more of a darker album than its successor and dwelling on the subjects, people are too afraid to touch on.
Her narrative direction is Lily’s strength unlike so many others of her mannered but gutless peers, she doesn’t indiscriminately spill emotions onto the page, she cleverly picks targets, choosing to reveal personal secrets we never ‘truly’ knew. She happily broadcasts her dysfunctional relationships with her parents and her in fluctuating waist line and her concerns about the change into becoming a woman.
Like many young women, Allen is feeling a little bit older then her twenty-three years knowing that the landscape of her life is changing, and she’s dreading her 30’s which feel closer every day. Lily doesn’t state this outright but of course she puts it into the character sketch of “22” just like how she deals with the blizzard of cocaine and pills on “Everyone’s At It”, registering her sneering distain for a social scene she’s outgrowing yet not quite ready to leave behind. Something that she has not forgotten is the brutal persecution of her past lovers. ‘Not Fair’, a relative to ‘Not Big’, Allen is irritated by a lover who is perfect in every way except his inability to ‘…make her scream’. The flirtatious nature of the album is more refined than the gloriously messy ‘Alright, Still’ could never achieve. With the much waited anticipation for, ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’, it gained highly positive feedback, even from the most sceptical judges, patiently waiting and wanting her to fail. With strong sales, Lily enjoyed a week of the number one album spot, joining the likes of The Beatles, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and other notable artists of a generation.
In early 2010, she announced that she is taking a hiatus from her music because she was getting sick of playing the character Lily Allen portrayed in the media. In her break she planned to open her own retailer and make her own record label. After winning her first Brit Award for "British Female Solo Artist" was asked would this change her plans for a break, she replied "This hasn't changed my plans to quit. It's actually been really good as something to work towards for the last six months, knowing I'd be doing this. It is the perfect way to say goodbye. I have so much I want to do now with my shop and record label." In May she stated that following her remaining shows she still plans on taking a break saying "I'm ready to just take a break from it," "I'm still writing... I'm not writing for myself”. After a miscarriage, it was suspected that Allen was pregnant with her long term boyfriend. After she featured in ‘Just Be Good To Green’ with Professor Green, she announced that in early 2011, she will be a new mum.
With two very successful albums in the bag, people’s perception, of her changed. From being the loud mouthed cocky cockney, to the understated ‘People’s Person’, she’s not only been citied as a strong female role model and a soon to be mother, but named one of Esquire Magazine’s ‘Brilliant Brits’. Lily started off, the kind of girlfriend you'd have when you're twenty-two, the awesome kind you'd go backpacking around Europe with, and end up sharing clothes, but after a long hard struggle for her and her music to be noticed, she’s not only the most interesting pop star ever created, but an inspiration to millions that you don’t have to be ideal to be perfect! This spotlights how special of not only a popstar, but a person Lily Allen is, how she captures all that’s wretched and glorious about her time without falling into any of its traps, probably because she’s clever enough to avoid them in the first place. Whether you love her, or hate her, she has silenced doubters, broken America and receiving every honour she can, arise the new Queen of British Music, Lily Allen.