"Not Fair" is a song by British recording artist Lily Allen from her second studio album, It's Not Me, It's You (2009). Written by Allen and Greg Kurstin, the song was released as the second single from the album on 20 March 2009 by Regal Recordings. The song incorporates country music as the lyrics depict sexual frustration. Contemporary critics did not positively receive the song and its theme, some calling it a "pseudo-country track" and considering it a strange musical composition.[1] The single peaked in the top 20 of the charts of some European countries and Australia, while scoring Allen's second consecutive top-five hit on both the UK Singles Chart and the Dutch Top 40 (since in the latter "Fuck You" was a commercial success before "Not Fair").

"Not Fair"
Single by Lily Allen
from the album It's Not Me, It's You
Released20 March 2009 (2009-03-20)
Producer(s)Greg Kurstin
Lily Allen singles chronology
"The Fear"
"Not Fair"
"Fuck You"
Music video
"Not Fair" on YouTube

The accompanying music video portrayed a western country theme, with Allen dancing next to a microphone while backing singers are dressed as cowgirls, accompanied by cattle and poultry. The video was shot the same day of the release of the single. It was performed live on different occasions, including Allen's 2009 concert tour. In Australia, the song was ranked at number eight on the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2009.[2]

Background edit

In the song, Allen describes her relationship with a boyfriend to which she describes him as "the perfect guy" yet is frustrated at his sexual laziness. She furthermore describes the situation as "Not Fair" because while he plays the perfect boyfriend in every other way, he is selfish when it comes to their sex life ("all you do is take") – thus the song gives the impression that all his niceness and concern may have been just a face to get what he wants from his girlfriend without any genuine concern with her satisfaction and happiness.

The single was officially released on January and climbed the charts, still being in the top 10 in June. The single was released as a digital download on 21 March 2009 (iTunes) and on 11 May 2009 as a CD. Allen performed it live for the first time on Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway on 21 March 2009.

The censored version of the song, which is often used on the radio, blanks out the words "wet patch" and "I spent ages giving head" on the second verse, replacing them with a burst of the background instruments. An alternative version only removes the word "head", replacing it with a short chord played on a mouth organ. While performing the song in the BBC Radio Live Lounge and on The Graham Norton Show, she replaced the latter with "I spent ages kneading bread".

Composition edit

"Not Fair" is a "bluegrass-infused" country song.[3][4]

Commercial performance edit

"Not Fair" charted two months before the release date at number 200 in the UK. By 2 May, "Not Fair" reached the #10 spot on the official chart before reaching a final peak of #5. In New Zealand, the song debuted at number 32 on 18 May 2009, giving Allen her fifth top 40 hit there. It has so far peaked at number 20. The song has also been a big hit in Australia, where it peaked at number three and has so far spent eight consecutive weeks in the top 10, equalling the success of her previous single "The Fear".

Music video edit

Allen in the 1970s-inspired music video for "Not Fair"

The music video for "Not Fair" was directed by Melina Matsoukas and filmed in Los Angeles on 19 February 2009.[5][6] Allen released pictures from the video on her official Twitter account.[7] A 17-second teaser of the video was released on YouTube on 17 March, before T4 premiered the entire video on Saturday, 21 March. As of October 2022, it has gained over 100 million views on YouTube. [8]

The music video shows Allen performing the song on the Porter Wagoner Show, starting off with a snippet from the Porter Wagoner show from the 1970s to present Allen (dubbed) by saying, "Now it's time for the purty little lady to come forth with a real purty song. And it's called "Not Fair". Let's make her welcome, Miss Lily Allen!"

Allen is revealed to be singing alongside a country and western band, including a very bored-looking drummer, mullet-wearing guitarists, and backing singers/dancers. Allen performs the song into a microphone and can be seen dancing around the stage, dressed in a white jumpsuit and sporting a blunt fringe with long hair. The video was recorded on videotape and with a real vacuum tube TV camera (as can be seen by the "comet trails" at 1:56 when the camera pans away from the studio lights) to keep with the theme of the video, as opposed to being filmed like most other music videos made in the 21st century.[citation needed]

Track listing edit

Charts edit

Release history edit

Region Date Format
United Kingdom[35]
20 March 2009 Digital download
8 May 2009 CD single
9 May 2009
United Kingdom 11 May 2009 CD single
United States June 2009 Digital

References edit

  1. ^ Davies, Lucy. "BBC – Music – Review of Lily Allen – It's Not Me, It's You". bbc.co.uk.
  2. ^ "The Hottest 100 Archive: 2009". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2 March 2023.
  3. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (3 February 2009). "Lily Allen – It's Not Me, It's You Review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 27 February 2014. ...a key component to the inventively bluegrass-infused 'Not Fair',...
  4. ^ "It's Not Me, It's You Album Review | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  5. ^ "SHOT: Lily Allen – Melina, director". VideoStatic.com. 27 February 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  6. ^ "Gettin my hair did. Shooting the next video today x". Twitter. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  7. ^ "Not Fair". Twitpic. Twitter. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  8. ^ "Lily Allen | Not Fair (Official Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  9. ^ a b c "2009-04-03: 'What's Happening?' – LillyAllenMusic.com". Archived from the original on 11 September 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Auspop.Net: A Totally Fair Local Lily Single". Auspop.blogspot.com. 28 April 2009. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  11. ^ "iTunes – Music – Not Fair – EP by Lily Allen". iTunes Store. 8 May 2009.
  12. ^ "ARIA Charts – Week Commencing: 15th June 2009" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Aria.com.au. 15 June 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  13. ^ "Lily Allen / Not Fair". Charts.orf.at. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  14. ^ a b Steffen Hung. "Lily Allen – Not Fair". Ultratop.be. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  15. ^ "ČNS IFPI". Hitparada.ifpicr.cz. Archived from the original on 5 July 2006. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
  16. ^ Steffen Hung. "Lily Allen – Not Fair". danishcharts.dk. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  17. ^ "Top 40". Top40.nl. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  18. ^ musicline.de / PhonoNet GmbH. "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche". Musicline.de. Archived from the original on 11 September 2009. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Archived from the original on 2 June 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
  20. ^ "Media Forest: Airplay chart". mediaforest.biz. Archived from the original on 9 September 2012.
  21. ^ Italian Singles Chart Archived 23 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart Archived 13 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 19 May 2009
  23. ^ ds. "Sns Ifpi". Ifpicr.cz. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  24. ^ Steffen Hung. "Lily Allen – Not Fair". swisscharts.com. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  25. ^ "Chart listing" (TXT). Zobbel.de. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
  26. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2009 Singles" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  27. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards ('Not Fair')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  28. ^ "British single certifications – Lily Allen – Not Fair". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  29. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 100 Singles 2009". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  30. ^ "Jahreshitparade 2009". Austriancharts.at. Archived from the original on 10 September 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
  31. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ ":: MTV | Single Jahrescharts 2009 | charts". www.mtv.de. Archived from the original on 25 January 2010.
  33. ^ "FIMI – Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana – Ricerche e dati di mercato". Fimi.it. 19 January 2010. Archived from the original on 23 January 2010. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  34. ^ "2009 Year End Swiss Singles Chart". Swiss Music Charts. 2009. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  35. ^ "UK Digital Download". apple.com.
  36. ^ "AUS Digital Download". apple.com.

External links edit