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Single Review: Lily Allen – ‘Hard Out Here’

2 min read

The soft-voiced, controversial Lily Allen is back, proving that motherhood has not softened her acid tongue.

In fact, the full title of Allen’s first single in three years is Hard Out There (for a Bitch). This is almost certainly a parody on Hard Out Here for a Pimp (from the movie ‘Hustle & Flow’), a surprise Oscar winner for Best Original Song.

Lily Allen Hard Out HereReuniting with long-time collaborator Greg Kurstin, Allen returns to her trademark sound of saccharine pop music backed with gentle vocals dishing out some harsh truths about modern society.

However, Allen’s voice is littered with autotune. This is deliberate to not only make Allen sound robotic, but to ridicule those rapper-‘vocalists’ such as T-Pain and Chris Brown (who are infamous for their autotune).

Even without the hilarious music video, Allen makes fun of the objectification of women in music videos and the growing ‘ratchet’-ness of modern life.

The similarities in the electric piano hits between Hard Out Here and former-player-now-minister MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This (whose video is full of dancing ladies like Allen’s own video) are uncanny. Samples of Allen’s voice in the second chorus are all over the place and move up and down in pitch, to ridicule the comical introduction of Miley Cyrus’ We Can’t Stop.

Allen embraces her ‘bitch’ status to say whatever is on her mind (‘I’ll go ahead and say them anyway’) and challenges men to be in the shoes of women (‘forget your balls and grow a pair of tits’). Meanwhile, she and Kurstin manage to make these points, as well as the questioning of stereotypes of women being ‘in the kitchen’ and ‘sluts’ (if they ever talk about their sex lives), sound incredibly catchy.

Hard Out Here is a return to Allen’s hard-hitting, thought-provoking best. Since a radio edit would sound completely pointless, do yourself a favour and watch the explicit version of the hilarious music video.