Back in Australia from this Monday, Lily Allen has an autobiography, a comeback third album, and most recently a pop chart bothering fourth record. That’s a fair story so far of rise and fall back and rise again.
As Wind Back Wednesday recalls, a decade ago there was already one big wave she was riding and her 2009 shows in Australia were a sign that there might just be a lot more to talk about.
Hordern Pavilion, June 9
I think Lily Allen is starting to believe.
Two and half years ago, when she toured here for the Big Day Out, she was a pop star though she wasn't really a singer, not particularly a women's mag cover type, nor sold on sex or even that much outrage really.
What the Londoner had was a swag of really enjoyable, if slightly built, pop-and-reggae songs, a diary of biting and funny lyrics and a nagging sense that this arrived in a rush and could end just as quickly. “Have I just fluked it”, you could see her thinking.
Not surprisingly, Allen’s stage manner was a mixture of nervousness and an almost contrived diffidence which said I'm refusing to even be seen taking this too seriously.
Now though, after flirting with a non-music career and a bit of a meltdown after being scorched by fame throwers, Allen has a second album of meatier and even poppier songs (It's Not Me, It’s You), a stronger singing voice proving surprisingly capable (key changes and altered melodies not just attempted but easily pulled off) and a relaxed presence on stage (dance moves, smiles and a cry near the end of “I don't want this to end").
Why? Because even though she declared herself "terrified" in front of what was she said the biggest room she had played, Lilly Allen now knows she can do this and do it well.
And so did we from the opening electro rock blast of Everyone's At It and the lighter stepping synth pop of I Could Say to the semi acoustic fairground jaunt of the boyfriend-skewering It’s Not Fair and the alternative family singalong of Fuck You, “dedicated” this night to the racist piglets of the British National Party.
Fun was had. Not just because these newer songs (and the setlist was dominated by the second album) have the kind of tunes that are as easy to learn as they are hard to resist.
Not even just because the show was punchy and free of duds. But also because Lily Allen pop star and Lily Allen woman with a brain quite like sharing the same space these days.
Lily Allen plays Enmore Theatre, Sydney, February 4-5; The Forum, Melbourne, February 6 and 10; The Tivoli, Brisbane, February 8; Party In The Paddock Festival, Launceston, February 9; Metro City, Perth, February 12.