Lily Allen is back with a bang, releasing her first original song since 2009, Hard Out Here, and singlehandedly taking a swipe at sexism, misogyny and the ridiculous expectations of women in the media, while getting some subtle digs in at Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus.
There’s nothing subtle about the lyrics to Hard Out Here, though. Its chorus of “Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits / It’s hard out here for a bitch” is probably the most low-key part of the whole song, with verses clearly spelling out Allen’s disdain for being expected to be a size 6, to be sexy but not slutty, and that if you’re not hot, you better be “real good at cooking”.
The video mocks Miley Cyrus, with Allen surrounded by twerking dancers, while her line “Have you thought about your butt / Who’s going to tear it in two?” is clearly a response to Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines and his claim that he’ll “give you something big enough to tear your ass in two”.
The climax of the clip is the 28-year-old dancing in front of balloons spelling out “Lily Allen has a baggy pussy”, her answer to a model dancing in front of the words “Robin Thicke has a big dick” in the Blurred Lines video.
It’s not perfect – Hard Out Here has all of Allen’s trademark obvious rhyming couplets, including a need to specify when she’s being sarcastic, in case you missed it. And its hard to tell at times whether she’s actually sending up Miley Cyrus or just using more twerking women of colour as props while claiming irony. Regardless, it’s sure to get a conversation rolling.
Allen’s promised comeback is right on time, with her new album to be released in 2014.
UPDATE: Allen has been forced to defend herself against claims of racism that have arisen in the wake of the video – details here.
Watch: Lily Allen – Hard Out Here