After taking a three-year hiatus, Lily Allen is back in action—and her new single and the video that goes along with it are all kinds of amazing. Taking to task everything from the absurdity of celebrity to the appropriation of culture and from gender roles to the ridiculous beauty standards that the entertainment industry stands on, “Hard Out Here” might be exactly what we need right now.
The whole thing probably classifies as NSFW, so you may want to wait until you’re not at the office to watch it—but I do recommend that you watch it when you get a chance. Here it is:
It’s not subtle, and it’s not apologetic, but it IS brilliant, both lyrically and visually. It’s been pointed out by better music critics than me, but the difference here between, say, Miley Cyrus’ appropriation of black culture is that Lily SKEWERING it here. There’s nothing more ridiculous than having a middle-aged white guy trying to demonstrate exactly how he wants Lily and her backup dancers to twerk.
The song and the video are both rife with this kind of wit, and I LOVE it. The image of a perfectly lovely woman on an operating being told, “How can somebody let themselves get like this?”—because somehow, the fact that she had two babies is no excuse for not looking like an airbrushed goddess—is particularly evocative, but that’s just one example. Take your pick.
Good on you, Lily. If no one calls out these kinds of issues, nothing will ever happen to change them.
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.