Beloved, sharp-tongued British singer-songwriter Lily Allen came (mercifully) bursting back onto the pop scene late last year with “Hard Out Here,” a refreshingly slick slice of social commentary-meets-meaty pop production. It was, by all means, exactly what a Lily Allen Comeback Single needed to sound like.
Now, there’s this: “Air Balloon,” the second taste of Lily’s upcoming third studio album.
Nursery rhyme style has always been a ‘thing’ in Lily’s music-making: From “Smile” to “Fuck You,” Lily’s always down for a good singalong-friendly melody.
“Air Balloon,” however, might just be her most singsongy moment yet.
“Did I ever tell you my uncle’s monkey ran away from the zoo?” she childishly inquires atop a bright piano on the head-in-the-clouds Shellback-produced number.
It’s all seemingly mindless fun, as she darts through the clouds atop random references — Timbuktu! Kurt Cobain! — and a flow that recalls M.I.A. in places. (That “na, na, na” bit, especially.) There’s a little #SomethingMoreUrban bridge too, as Lily gets trippin’ and shakes it back down to the ground briefly, but then it’s right back up into the clouds for more fun.
“Air Balloon” is a much more bubbly, less sassy affair than “Hard Out Here,” and sounds like it would fit snugly on a children’s album, a la Rachel Stevens‘ iconic Tasty Tunes. It’s innocuous. It’s listenable. It’s sweet. Sure, it’s not nearly as biting as “Hard Out There.” But does it need to be?
So many thoughts. So many feelings. Does Lily’s follow-up take you higher, or is it too twee for takeoff?
“Air Balloon” will be released on March 2. (iTunes)