“Everyone’s At It” addresses drug addiction and implies that children pay when parents are out of touch (“Your daughter’s depressed/We’ll get her straight on Prozac/But little do you know/She already takes crack”). “The Fear” lampoons sleazy celebrity culture (“I’ll take off my clothes … /’Cause everyone knows that’s how you get famous”). “22” describes an almost-30 woman who’s disillusioned by the fact that she’s still single. She longs for love, but settles for desperate one-night stands—something she knows won’t satisfy her (“She’s thinking, How did I get here?”). Two tracks explore the joys of romance (“Who’d Have Known,” “Chinese”), while another (“I Could Say”) deals with ending a bad relationship. “Go Back to the Start” is a sweet song in which Lily apologizes to someone she’s been jealous of for years. “Him” ponders what God might think of our contemporary situation (“If there is some kind of a god, do you think he’s pleased?/When he looks down on us I wonder what he sees”). Some bits are playful (“His favorite band is Creedance Clearwater Revival”), while others are philosophical (“Do you think he’d think the things we do are a waste of time?”).
The obscenely titled “F— You” unleashes a hooky fusillade of profanity at George Bush, repeating the titular phrase 31 times. The song labels his disapproval of homosexuality “evil,” “racist” and “medieval,” and eventually wishes death upon him (“It’s people like you that need to get slew”). Other profanity includes two more f-words and an s-word. On “Not Fair” the singer praises a romantic partner’s attentiveness, then rejects him because of his poor performance in bed (described explicitly). “Never Going to Happen” seems like a straightforward breakup song—until we learn that the woman ending things still uses her would-be ex for sex when she gets lonely (“It could be considered using when I call you up/ … But it’s been a week since I got laid”). “Him” suggests that the god Lily imagines is unsure how to respond to people who kill in his name. She also speculates on other character flaws he might have, including the possibility of drug use (“Do you think he’s ever taken smack or cocaine?”).
One minute Lily Allen is pondering how to get a culture off drugs. The next she’s launching a f-word filled volley against a former president. Innocent love songs mingle with tracks that spotlight a lover’s sexual shortcomings. Engaging musings about God mix with irreverent ones. And so on. For every positive insight this British pop singer might muster, there’s something else that’s equally problematic … or much more so.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews.