Lily Allen terrorised the charts with 2006’s ‘Alright, Still’, sending classy digs at the Bowmans and Barâts dominating pop culture. It’s never been the same since, so we trekked through her career highs to pay our dues.
10 URL Badman
Lily’s third album, ‘Sheezus’, might’ve missed the mark more times than fans had hoped, but this call-out to misogynist, no-life keyboard warriors hits the spot.
This Winehouse-esque jazz-pop number attacks knight-in-shining-armour syndrome and gives a shot in the arm to women who think they need a man to save them.
8 Everything’s Just Wonderful
An essential dispatch from the snotty school of Allen, if only for this priceless rhyme: “I wanna be able to eat spaghetti Bolognese/ And not feel bad about it for days and days and days.”
Lily’s poison-laced love letter to the capital, ‘LDN’ has a few lyrical clangers (“I believe that is called al fresco” #neverforget) but its abundant personality and sharp narrative voice make it feel as refreshing as a dunk in the Thames.
6 The Fear
Like everything Allen was doing in 2008, ‘The Fear’ was practically inescapable for anyone breathing air. Its lyrics are either a patronising dig at regular people’s lifestyle consumerism, or a shameless statement of her own material aspiration. Either way, it’s Lily, so you kind of let her off.
5 Everyone’s At It
The ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ opener paints the post-fame comedown in stark colours, setting the tone for a vital second album that turned Lily’s relationship with pop culture from a hate-fling to a hate-marriage.
4 Fuck You
Despite (predictably) getting barely any airplay, Fuck You, with its soaring chorus, feels synonymous with the 2008 Allen of ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’. Its anti-bigotry message is heavy-handed, but it’s on the money, and less naive than the racially loaded ‘Hard Out Here’.
Underpinned by a carnival reggae bounce that sounds like the sun between the clouds, ‘Smile’ – Lily’s first Number One single – outshines her more obviously poison-tongued efforts by virtue of its irrepressible glee in getting musical revenge on a love rat.
2 Not Fair
Lily’s one of those pop stars someone would’ve invented if she hadn’t happened to really exist. This kiss-off to a bad lay is revolutionary pop gold, feminising male bravado with genuinely funny lyrics to boot. “I’m feeling pretty damn hard done by/I’ve spent ages giving head,” goes one deadpan burn.
1 Knock ‘Em Out
When The Streets dropped the ball (into a bottomless pit, it transpired) with ‘The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living’, Lily swept in to minesweep the spoils. ‘Knock ‘Em Out’, which could be an answer to one of Skinner’s hapless seducers, is an account of getting dressed up and looking fly in the bar, only to spend the night rebuffing goons who think it’s an invitation to harass her.