From ‘LDN’ to ‘Lost My Mind': Every Lily Allen Song Ever, Ranked From Worst to Best
Rocking trainers, '50s prom gowns and a whole lot of 'tude, Lily Allen broke onto the scene in 2006 after first gaining attention thanks to demos posted on a little site called MySpace. Her rising star status was solidified when her debut single, the sunny, sharp-tongued ska-pop breakup anthem "Smile," hit No. 1 in the U.K., earning her both Grammy and Brit Awards noms.
More than ten years after making her debut, through the hiatuses and tabloid dramas and three—soon to be four—albums, the spunky British singer-songwriter remains a pop fixture thanks to a career-spanning arsenal of catchy tunes—influences range from reggae to electro-pop to grime—and her make-no-apologies sass.
On Friday, June 8, the pop star will return with her highly anticipated fourth studio album, the aptly titled No Shame. In preparation for this new era, we've combed through Allen's discography to bring you the definitive ranking, from worst to best, of Lily Allen's songs... so far.
This b-side from Allen's debut album was the song that kicked off the pop star's bitter decade-long feud with the track's titular subject, Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole — née Tweedy. Too bad the beef wasn't worth it: the mean-spirited trip-hop track is pretty lame.
A bonus track from the Alright, Still era, this one is as expressionless as the title suggests.
Yes, this riff on 50 Cent's 2005 "Window Shopper" contains a handful of smirk-inducting lines about a penny-pinching senior ("I walk into your kitchen, everything's got a label / You've done your Christmas shopping and we're only in April"), but would you really have remembered it if it wasn't on this list?
This Cajun-flavored ditty boasts a wonderfully personal backstory but suffers from out-of-place production.
The pop star philosophizes on religious ideology on this It's Not Me, It's You cut. Unfortunately, Allen's admittedly interesting musings about right vs. wrong and blind worship get washed away by surfy synths that fail to capture the song's impactful lyrics.
This light, airy, tropical jam about navigating a pre-midlife crisis stalls out due to Vampire Weekend-esque production that sounds about four years outdated.
Another b-side off the singer's debut, this one's an innocuous filler new wave track.
Though it doesn't rank anywhere near, say, Katy Perry's "Ur So Gay" on the Problematic Scale, this throwaway bonus track with an unfortunate title is a stereotype-laden, substance-free, skippable pop ode to gay BFFs.
Allen tackles family resentment on "Who Do You Love?," a hazy bonus track that unfortunately lacks the bare-your-guts punchiness of "Back to the Start."
Electro-pop polka? Sure. Unfortunately, the cheesy production doesn't quite line up with Allen's venomous lyrics.
This shimmery, swirling, '80s hued sex-pop tune would be cuter if it weren't for the super cringe-y lyrics ("I'll be Beyonce / Baby, say my name").
This somewhat tone-deaf filler track finds Allen leaning into her posh, privileged upbringing, for which she makes no apologies.
Backed by a jazzy, scratchy vintage record player beat, song about making amends with her absentee father should leave more of a lasting impression than it does.
The pop star tries her hand at jazzy piano-rock on this forgettable b-side about fear of commitment.
This Sheezus cut is a sarcastic hair flip against vapid social media-age celebrity culture that runs a little too mean, a little too late, but still packs a bit of a punch.
Trite lyrics and a somewhat unemotional vocal delivery hold this neon-hued new wave jam back from banging as hard as it should.
A gorgeous synth-pop cut about dependency and the all-too-human need for social affirmation, "Miserable Without Your Love" sounds like something that would have fit seamlessly on It's Not Me, It's You.
Allen enjoys a casual day out with her lover on this sweet but unremarkable synth-pop prequel to "Littlest Things."
Allen toys with her lover's emotions on this jagged edged '90s grunge-pop b-side.
Swirling synths and driving techno beats elevate this seething, politically-charged, surprisingly potent bonus track.
As funky electronics bubble and pop, Allen is sharp-tongued as ever on this humid, swaggy flip-off to an ex-boyfriend who allowed her to slip through his fingers.
Allen tugs on the heartstrings on "Three," a sweet ballad sung from the perspective of the pop star's young daughters. The song puts Allen's storytelling ability front and center, and whether you're a mum or not, listening to this one will undoubtedly make you feel as guilty as any parent who has to leave their children often for work.
Packed with loopy, nonsensical lyrics about Elvis and Kurt Cobain and monkeys running away from the zoo, this bubblegum bop is memorable for its zippy energy, not its social commentary.
This explosive electro-pop banger packs an emotional punch, with Allen softening her trademark edge and apologizing to her sister for a toxic years-long feud, for which she maturely takes responsibility.
Size does matter on this reggae-fueled put-down of a "rubbish in bed" ex-boyfriend. It's brutal fun and exemplifies Allen's willingness to go there.
The singer rips into a nosy rubbernecker on this decent electro-pop track with a simple message: mind your own damn business.
This surfy, groovy new wave track off Alright, Still isn't one of Allen's most memorable, but the unbothered artist builds a strong case against unsolicited advice and platitudes via biting lyrical commentary.
An audio sample of Sandie Shaw's 1967 Eurovision-winning "Puppet on a String" kicks off this wacky ode to Allen's stoned younger brother, the titular Alfie (yes, that Alfie Allen from Game of Thrones). It's totally bizarre — and we can't help but wonder how Alfie received the song when it was released back in 2006 — but it's just catchy and silly enough to earn a place among Allen's most interesting singles, even if it was oddly placed as the closer off Alright, Still.
The titular track off Allen's 2014 album, "Sheezus" is a mid-tempo meta-hip-hop anthem that serves as an intentional pop manifesto ("I am born again / Now run along and tell all of your friends / To come and join us, give yourselves to me / I am your leader, let me be sheezus") with some ultimately confused feminist messaging. (The fact that Allen mentions her period three times, however, is pretty radical.)
The smooth reggae soundscape creates an effortlessly cool juxtaposition between Allen's lilting, poison-laced diatribe against a two-faced girlfriend and the song's hammock-beckoning production. (It's something No Doubt may have recorded if Gwen was just a pinch edgier.)
A heart-wrenching electro-ballad that chronicles Allen's emotional state after suffering a miscarriage in 2008, "Take My Place" is one of the singer's most intimate and gripping deep cuts.
Allen leans heavily into her affinity for hip-hop on the lead single off No Shame, which features the artist's real-life pal, London rapper Giggs. While the mid-tempo production plays relatively standard—perhaps even resurrecting the spirit of Kala-era M.I.A.—the pop star absolutely shines on the verses as she sings about toxic party culture and taking accountability.
Allen is wonderfully energetic and bubbly on this sunny-psychedelic cover of Electric Light Orchestra's 1978 art rock hit, "Mr. Blue Sky."
Featuring hints of the biting wit that made "Alfie" such a standout on Allen's debut album, Alright, Still, "URL Badman" is a delightfully vicious takedown of music bro culture, social media critics and the misogyny running rampant through the media industry. Plus, it features this scathing, genius lyric: "I don't like girls much, they're kinda silly / Unless of course they wanna play with my willy."
The pop star wobbles with the swag of a stiletto hitting cobblestone on this grimy electro-ska hybrid that captures the blur of partying—and the thrill of heckling the bouncer—in your 20s.
Allen sings about the inevitable consequences of our broken systems — government, financial, cultural and otherwise — atop a groovy '60s pop beat on "Everything's Just Wonderful," a razor-edged social commentary that holds up, especially for millennials listening in 2018. It's cathartic, in a way, to submit to the pop star's anxieties, even if she doesn't offer any actionable solutions for her existential woes — "that's just the way the cookie crumbles," indeed.
Set to pleasant synth-pop, "Our Time" is a mellow, relatable ode letting loose with friends.
Another cheeky ska-pop tune off Allen's debut, the pop star sounds ready for a scrap in the club on this memorable track about persistent boys who just can't take a hint, no matter how obvious.
Moody R&B snaps and swirls around Allen's ethereal vocals on this slow burning alt-pop track off No Shame, cushioning the artist in bittersweet resolve as she sings about betrayal in a relationship. Where she once may have lashed out, this one sees Allen wearing her broken heart on her sleeve, and it's refreshing.
Allen goes full-throttle '90s house diva on this unofficial 2014 world cup anthem. It's simply divine.
Kicking off with a twinkling piano riff, this protest anthem against George W. Bush and bigots is all breezy dance-pop before the hook, when it suddenly explodes into a million gleeful little middle fingers waving in the air.
Allen uncaps her uncertainties on this feather-light, tropical alt-pop bop that features fuzzy PC Music-esque production.
Allen's big, controversial 2013 comeback track may not have been the grand feminist statement she intended, but following a near five-year hiatus, the hip-pop banger offered a welcome reminder of the pop star's biting wit and ability to stir the pot.
The pop star is at the top of her game on the final single off her sophomore album. "Who'd Have Known," which interpolates Take That's "Shine" and was sampled in T-Pain's 2011 smash "5 O'Clock," is a twinkling R&B-pop lullaby that features Allen's vocals at their most warm and melty.
A sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek ode to the realities of urban life, this sunny, tropical single pairs a cheerful melody with scathing, sharp-toothed observations, making it a quintessential inclusion in Allen's discography.
One of the pop star's very best, "Littlest Things" finds the Brit tenderly rapping about the optimistic, easy early days of a relationship that has since deteriorated. Allen's charming melodic vocal is rife with pain and regret, a sharp contrast to her more sarcastic, bratty tunes, but the emotional honesty offers a welcome glimpse into the singer's soul.
Allen dips gleefully into lovey-dovey pop froth on this chipper ode to her husband. The electro-pop production isn't necessarily revelatory, but it's hella hard not to get caught up in the joy. (Plus, it's seriously catchy.)
An aggressive electro-pop tune about the hypocrisy and sensationalism surrounding drug culture (both recreational and prescription), Allen is unrelenting on this would-be, should-be single.
Allen is both wholly charming and devastating on this gossamer, emotionally charged cover of Keane's 2004 hit. The sparse, twinkling production and heartfelt lyrics pull something incredibly special out of the singer, who is transcendent as the production ebbs and flows between delicate and powerful, her vocal performance flowing suit.
This slinky, all-too-relatable cabaret-pop exploration of age anxiety finds Allen weaving a "sad but true" tale of late-20s burn-out with a feminist lens. Whether or not it's introspective or simply observational is up for debate, but there's a certain weary conviction in Allen's lilt that suggests the former.
Driving dance-pop unexpectedly crashes into honky-tonk country on this hard-driving takedown of a Good Guy who's (womp womp) bad in bed, creating one of Allen's most surprisingly memorable — and deliciously NSFW — singles.
On this bona fide artist breakout from the MySpace era, Allen's sweet, lilting vocal is all the more cutting when she's flippantly shrugging off her foolish ex for "f---ing that girl next door." Set to a languid reggae groove, "Smile" is a summer breakup anthem to end all others — more than a decade later, it remains a keen testament to Allen's sharp lyrical spunk.
Marking Allen's 2009 synth-pop rebranding, this candy-coated, Greg Kurstin-produced dance anthem against materialism and the soul-sucking downsides of fame remains one of the artist's best and sharpest efforts, both musically and lyrically. It's "Material Girl" 2.0, but with more purpose. It's everything a Lily Allen song should be: unexpected, witty, political and damn catchy.