Five British Singer-Songwriters Equal An Army Of Lily Allens

Jan 16th, 2007 // 11 Comments

lilyallen.jpgWe have dark memories of the Lilith Fair era, which inspired a ream of trend stories where the phrase “women in rock” was draped over any group of females who dared commit a song to tape. (“Missy Elliott, Sleater-Kinney, and Madonna all have albums out now? Well, get cracking!”) Now, thanks to the success of a certain trainer-wearing starlet–and the “if I see three or more, it’s a trend” tendencies of lazier music writers out there–we have a new standard-bearer for the next pop matriarchy: Lily Allen. From this weekend’s Guardian:

After a post-millennial dirge of simpering female pop stars who were either so wet as to warrant a free lifetime’s supply of Tena Lady (come in Dido, Sandi Thom) or couldn’t sing a song unless they were grinding the mic stand like it was happy hour at Ann Summers (and you Javine, Rachel Stevens) things were looking bad for the UK’s solo musical ladies. That is until Lily Allen’s spotless trainers kicked into view. Lily was a knight in shining eyeliner – funny, sparky and, most importantly, a damn classy musician. Now following in her glorious wake are a whole new clutch of young MySpace-bred, savvy feminist popstrels making music that’s neither cringeworthy nor vacuously bland. Mixing up the best bits of the Just Seventeen problem page with blog-based wit and charm, this new breed of mini-Allens are set to be all over 2007 like a very tuneful rash.

Something about this fawning intro is making us itch, and our pain certainly doesn’t feel “tuneful.” Could it be the word “popstrel”? The Ani DiFranco-with-an-accent stylings of Laura Marling? The sniffy “I’m too good for pop” attitude implied by the Rachel Stevens dig? Or is it the return of the noxious idea that any women making music have to be lumped into one heaving, estrogen-emitting mass, even when they’re working in completely different genres and styles?

Meet the mini Allens … [The Guardian]


  1. mike a

    Finally, music by women that’s neither “cringeworthy nor vacuously bland!”

    You know, I have a funny feeling that 2007 will be the “Year of The Woman.”

  2. Paul D

    I thought the Rachel Stevens “dig” was quite apt. She’s worthless except as eye candy.

  3. Maura Johnston

    “some girls” is better than anything i heard on two of those five myspace pages. perhaps some of those young ladies should try and catch richard x’s eye.

  4. Jupiter8

    “After a post-millennial dirge of simpering female pop stars…”

    Ah, these fickle Brits, how quickly they forget “real” singers like Josh Stone…if only I could…

  5. katie_a_princess

    it’d be neat to read a piece about a solo female musician that doesn’t almost immediately make reference to what the artist looks like or wears.

  6. cerulgalactus

    It’d be neater to read about a solo female musician who isn’t Lily Allen. Crappy semi spoken pop delivered in a forced Mike Skinner accent is still crappy semi spoken pop.

  7. katie_a_princess

    while we’re discussing the neatness scale… i would like less lily allen, more pieces about solo female musicians sans reference to what they look like, and paper grocery bag filled to the brim with doughnuts, kahlua and back issues of wallpaper*

  8. millwhistle

    yes, but katie, if they don’t tell me what she looks like, how will I know if I want to buy her record?

    (this is directly related to the glossy female celeb profile trick in which the writer must inform us, somewhere in the first four grafs, what the subject of the interview ate during their meeting. and the subject of the interview always “picks at a salad” or devours a four-course meal, usually involving a cheeseburger.)

  9. katie_a_princess



  10. Breliant

    Is the Guardian filling the void left by the Melody Maker who’d create a scene out of just about anything (Brat Pop anyone?).

    I really don’t need to hear the Bell Jar put to music.

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