Lily Allen Returns to Mock Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Et Al.

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 12 2013 2:27 PM

Lily Allen Returns to Mock Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Et Al.

1384283296
Lily Allen explains why it's "hard out here for a bitch."

YouTube

It’s been four years since British songstress Lily Allen released an album, but her new single, “Hard Out Here,” and its accompanying video, prove that she hasn’t lost any of her biting wit. The mid-tempo tune echoes her previous endeavors both musically and lyrically, with the singer taking on the often painful trappings of being a woman in the entertainment world.

As the video opens, Allen lies on an operating table surrounded by surgeons performing liposuction, as well as her manager, who wonders aloud, “How does somebody let themselves get like this?” “Um, I had two babies,” she replies, dryly.

Advertisement

What follows is an indictment of pop culture, with blatant shots taken at Robin Thicke’s endlessly controversial video for “Blurred Lines” (giant balloons spell out “Lily Allen Has a Baggy Pussy”) and the whipping girl du jour, Miley Cyrus. Like the former Hannah Montana, Allen emulates the excesses of certain hip-hop videos by parading around a host of well-endowed black women who twerk and jiggle their assets with wild abandon.

But unlike Cyrus, Allen is clearly in on the misappropriation: We see her manager (an old white guy) awkwardly demonstrating exactly how he wants Allen and her backup dancers to jiggle said assets. And meanwhile, she sings, “Don’t you want to have somebody who objectifies you/ Have you thought about your butt, who’s gonna tear it in two?”

There’s nothing subtle about “Hard Out Here,” but then subtlety isn’t necessarily called for when addressing the musical sins of Thicke, Cyrus, Rihanna, or any number of other musical acts on the pop scene. Allen’s return feels like a welcome antidote to much of what’s out there.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

Naomi Klein Is Wrong

Multinational corporations are doing more than governments to halt climate change.

The Strange History of Wives Gazing at Their Husbands in Political Ads

Television

See Me

Transparent is the fall’s only great new show.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 1:38 PM Mad About Modi
 Why the controversial Indian prime minister drew 19,000 cheering fans to Madison Square Garden.

  Business
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
  Life
Education
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 30 2014 11:42 AM Listen to Our September Music Roundup Hot tracks from a cooler month, exclusively for Slate Plus members.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 12:42 PM How to Save Broken Mayonnaise
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 11:55 AM The Justice Department Is Cracking Down on Sales of Spyware Used in Stalking
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.