What doesn't Lily Allen throw shade at in her latest video may be the easier query to answer, but behold—the British popstress emerged from a lengthy hiatus with a Keane cover last week, and the latest dispatch is an uncompromising one. "It's hard out here for a bitch," she mouths repeatedly in the glitzy but scathing pop track. That's the colorful video above. Here's a quick look at anything and everything she attacks within it:
- How the music industry treats female pop artists: The video opens with Allen on a literal operating table as doctors and handlers scrutinize her: "How does somebody let themselves get like this?" "A lack of self-discipline, I suppose." Soon after, Allen sings: "Don't need to shake my ass at you 'cuz I've got a brain." Then: "If I told you 'bout my sex life, you'd call me a slut." Throughout the video, Allen's scantily clad dancers pour champagne on each other and parody pop videos.
- David Letterman: "Letterman says no," a handler tells Allen in the opening moments. (In fact she did perform on Letterman in 2007 and again in 2009.)
- Three 6 Mafia: Allen's chorus refrain, "It's hard out here for a bitch," is a thinly veiled reference to Three 6 Mafia's "Hard Out Here for a Pimp" ... from eight years ago.
- Miley Cyrus: Of course, there's ample twerking in the video, among other hints of Miley's "We Can't Stop" video.
- Hip hop materialism: "I won't be bragging 'bout my cars / Or talking 'bout my chains," Allen promises; her dancers mockingly throw dollar bills around.
- Body image issues in celebrity culture: In the second verse, Allen mocks those who tell her how to look: "You should probably lose some weight / Cuz we can't see your bones / You should probably fix your face or you'll end up on your own."
- Product placement: Spot the "E-Lites" being smoked in synchronization around the 2:35 mark? That, too, seems like a dig at Miley.
- Robin Thicke: Around the three-minute mark, spot Allen dancing in front of balloons spelling out "LILY ALLEN HAS A BAGGY PUSSY," an allusion to the "Blurred Lines" video.
If nothing else, it's quite a bolder comeback than a mere Keane cover.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.