"LDN" (shorthand for, and pronounced as, "London") is a song by English singer-songwriter Lily Allen. It was co-written by Future Cut, and features a Colombian porro from the country's Caribbean coast. The song was originally released on limited-edition 7-inch vinyl (500 copies) in the UK on 24 April 2006, accompanied by album track "Knock 'Em Out". It was reissued in September 2006 following the huge success of Allen's first mainstream single "Smile".

"LDN"
LilyAllen LDNsingle.jpg
Single by Lily Allen
from the album Alright, Still
B-side
  • "Nan, You're a Window Shopper"
  • "Naïve"
  • "Knock 'Em Out"
Released
  • 24 April 2006 (strictly limited)
  • 25 September 2006 (re-release)
Length3:10
LabelRegal
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Future Cut
Lily Allen singles chronology
"Smile"
(2006)
"LDN"
(2006)
"Littlest Things"
(2006)
Music video
"LDN" on YouTube

The re-release peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart. The song is used in the soundtrack of the film The Nanny Diaries and in the trailer for Happy-Go-Lucky. it reached number 30 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007.[1] In 2008 the song was included in the soundtrack of the Mike Leigh film Happy-Go-Lucky.

BackgroundEdit

Regal Records gave Allen £25,000 in 2005, when she signed to the label, a fact which she considered to be a "small development idea". The money was to produce an album, but the label were unable to provide much support due to its preoccupation with other releases.[2] Taking advice from Lady Sovereign, Allen created an account on MySpace and began posting demos in November 2005.[2] By March 2006, they attracted thousands of listeners, and 500 limited edition 7-inch vinyl singles of "LDN", one of the demos, were rush-released and sold for as much as £40. Thus the song became Allen's first single.[2][3]

Allen also produced two mixtapes to promote her work. As she accumulated tens of thousands of MySpace friends, The Observer Music Monthly took interest.[3] Few people outside of her label's A&R department had heard of Allen, so the label was slow in responding to publications which wanted to report about her.[2] Her label was displeased with the sound of the demos, so it assigned the singer to top producers and songwriters, who approved some of her songs for the album, Alright, Still. Among the songs Allen claimed she was happy with was "LDN".[2]

CompositionEdit

"LDN" is mobile-phone text language for 'London'. The lyric comprises Allen describing a bicycle ride through her hometown of London. Set to a cheerful tune, the lyric first appears to describe an innocent scene, "A fella looking dapper, and he's sittin' with a slapper", but follows up revealing a less glamorous reality, "Then I see it's a pimp and his crack whore."

Several episodes from "city life" are described, suggesting things may not be what they seem: "When you look with your eyes everything seems nice, But if you look twice you can see it's all lies." However, Allen finds these sights "priceless", and asks (possibly sarcastically) "Oh why, oh why, would I wanna be anywhere else?" The lyric might take part of its inspiration from William Blake's poem "London", which paints the city in a similar light.[citation needed]

"LDN" is composed in the key of F major (with its 5th interval played on bass guitar on the first beat). The song is written in cut time and moves at 100 beats per minute. It features a guitar using a tonic-dominant chord progression.[4] It samples "Reggae Merengue" performed by Tommy McCook and the Supersonics, which is based on Nestor Montes's "Cógeme la caña".

Music videosEdit

There are two music videos made for "LDN", the first being a low-budget affair to promote the original vinyl release and the second to promote the re-release.

The first video, recorded in speed-up camera, follows Allen riding her bike through London. It depicts many positive aspects of London, showing her taking a friendly photograph with a police officer, greeting a passer-by, eating at an ice cream café and relaxing in the public park, seeing people playing and having fun. She then travels on the London Underground, getting off at Ladbroke Grove tube station, where she then rides the bike around the palace area (outside the gate) then through the streets.

The second video is produced to be more in line with the song's words, particularly "When you look with your eyes, everything seems nice, but if you look twice, you can see it's all lies". It opens with Allen in a record store called Tough Grade, which is a play on Rough Trade, a record shop in London at Talbot Road and Portobello Road. She asks the manager for an eclectic piece of music – "punky electronica...kind of grime...kind of like...new-wave grime...but kind of maybe like more broken beats, but kinda dubby broken beats...but a lil bit kind of soulful....but kind of drum'n'bassy, but kinda more broken drum'n'bass like more broken beats, but break beat kind of broken drum'n'bass. Kind of...Do you know what I mean?". The song playing in the background is Allen's track "Friend of Mine", taken from her debut album, "Alright, Still". Allen receives a phone call, from someone assumed to be her boyfriend, and arranges to meet him. She walks out of the shop and walks through the centre of London. While she walks through the street, she leaves a glowing trail of light behind her, in Technicolor-like hues, and the town's atmosphere looks pleasant, fun and happy – however, as Allen moves forward the "reality" kicks in, as the scenery behind the hue transforms in sharp contrast in what it had been before, portraying litter, homelessness and violent crime in London, and the technicolour is washed out – for example, a magician's wand becomes a rusted nail, three gold coins turn into dog feces and a red sweet on the ground becomes a still-smoking cigarette butt. The video ends with Allen receiving another phone call; her boyfriend has decided not to come. Angry and unhappy, she storms away, and the vivid colour disappears to reveal the duller, more depressing reality of her surroundings.

Amy Winehouse's ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, features in the music video trying to sell flowers to Allen.

Track listingEdit

Charts and certificationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ No byline (11 December 2007). "The 100 Best Songs of 2007" Rolling Stone. Retrieved 21 December 2007
  2. ^ a b c d e Plagenhoef, Scott (4 November 2006). "Interview: Lily Allen". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 26 January 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
  3. ^ a b Sawyer, Miranda (21 May 2006). "Pictures of Lily". The Observer. Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
  4. ^ Sheet music for "LDN". Hal Leonard Corporation. 2006.
  5. ^ "iTunes – Music – LDN – EP by Lily Allen". itunes.apple.com.
  6. ^ "Lily Allen – LDN". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  7. ^ "Lily Allen – LDN" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  8. ^ "Lily Allen – LDN" (in French). Ultratip.
  9. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – RADIO – TOP 100 and insert 200649 into search. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  10. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – LDN". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Lily Allen – LDN". Top 40 Singles.
  12. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 October 2006.
  13. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 200645 into search. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Lily Allen – LDN". Swiss Singles Chart.
  15. ^ "Lily Allen: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  16. ^ "The Official UK Singles Chart 2006" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  17. ^ "British single certifications – Lily Allen – LDN". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 4 May 2021.