Fighting with the Sky

Song of the Day: "The Fear" by Lily Allen

Posted on: July 8, 2009

While Lily Allen is no stranger to controversy, I think she’s pretty great. I have been listening to her song “The Fear” all the time recently.

Her lyrics are usually pretty sarcastic and full of social commentary, but “The Fear” takes the cake. The song is all about how people get fame and riches. I see it as a social commentary on consumer culture, but not everyone sees it that way.

The Feministe post “I’m being taken over by the fear” quotes Mark K-Punk in reference to “The Fear”…

“All Allen can do is point to her own inertia and complicity but awareness can only reinforce the very condition she is talking about [. . .] The verses are unsure whether they want to be satire or not, unsure whether they want to mock consumer-nihilism or celebrate it , unsure because – after all – what’s the alternative, where can all this mocked from? [. . .] Celebrity culture and its critique are coterminous; the jeremiads about its superficiality as cliched and empty as the culture itself, both appearing on the same pages of LondonLite. Only the negative capability of the choruses, only the admission of The Fear, breaks out of this circuit.”

Sure, it is hypocritical to critique consumer culture and the celebrity lifestyle, yet still be complicit in it. But at least she is saying something about it.

The lyric that stuck out to me at first was “And I’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless/’Cuz everyone knows that’s how you get famous.” In today’s sexualized culture, people are known for their sexuality and availability. The same Feministe article states…

When Lily sings that couplet about how everyone knows that taking your clothes off gets you famous, she’s pointing to the fact that media culture runs on a certain kind of manufactured prurience. I mean, at this point, is anyone really shocked by nudity? Sex tapes? Infidelity? Homosexuality? Is it even possible to be?

And yet, manufactured sex “scandals” co-exist side-by-side with advertisements using sex to advertise practically everything. One punishes, one rewards. Yet they’re two sides of the same coin, it’s not hard to go from one to the other (Paris Hilton), and then back again.

Commenting on the need to be sexual to be famous, Allen is pointing out the hypocritical nature of today’s Hollywood culture.

I, personally, think this song is great. I will keep listening to it and enjoying it. And I will keep listening to Lily Allen.

More from Lily Allen:

“Smile”

“Alfie”

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1 Response to "Song of the Day: "The Fear" by Lily Allen"

Love this song and Lily. 🙂

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