Not Fair

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"Not Fair"
Single by Lily Allen
from the album It's Not Me, It's You
B-side "Why"
Released 20 March 2009 (2009-03-20)
Format CD single, digital download, 7"
Genre Bluegrass,[1] indie pop, anti-folk
Length 3:23
Label Regal
Writer(s) Lily Allen
Producer(s) Greg Kurstin
Certification (see sales and certifications)
Lily Allen singles chronology
"The Fear"
(2008)
"Not Fair"
(2009)
"Fuck You"
(2009)

"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 produced by Greg Kurstin, the song was released as the second single from the album on 19 February 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.[2] 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").

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 farm birds. 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.

It was named at number 8 in the Triple J Hottest 100, 2009.

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's 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 on The Graham Norton Show on 14 May 2009, she replaced the latter with "I spent ages kneading bread".

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.[3][4] Allen released pictures from the video on her official Twitter account.[5] 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 November 2013, it has garnered over 30 million views on YouTube [6]

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 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 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]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format
United Kingdom[10]
Australia
20 March 2009 Digital download
Germany
8 May 2009 CD single
Australia[11]
9 May 2009
United Kingdom 11 May 2009 CD single
United States June 2009 Digital

Charts and sales[edit]

Preceded by
"Poker Face" by Lady Gaga
"Halo" by Beyoncé
"Daj ruku do mojej ruky" by Zuzana Smatanová
Slovak Airplay Chart number-one single
1 June 2009 – 7 June 2009
15 June 2009 – 28 June 2009
6 July 2009 – 12 July 2009
Succeeded by
"Halo" by Beyoncé
"Daj ruku do mojej ruky" by Zuzana Smatanová
"When Love Takes Over" by David Guetta & Kelly Rowland
Preceded by
"The Boy Does Nothing" by Alesha Dixon
Czech Republic Airplay number-one singles
20 July 2009 – 2 August 2009
Succeeded by
"Know Your Enemy" by Green Day

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (February 3, 2009). "Lily Allen - It’s Not Me, It’s You Review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved February 27, 2014. "...a key component to the inventively bluegrass-infused 'Not Fair',..." 
  2. ^ BBC - Music - Review of Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
  3. ^ "SHOT: Lily Allen - Melina, director". VideoStatic.com. 27 February 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2009. 
  4. ^ "Gettin my hair did. Shooting the next video today x". Twitter. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2009. 
  5. ^ "Not Fair". Twitpic. Twitter. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2009. 
  6. ^ Music Video
  7. ^ a b c 2009-04-03: 'What's Happening?' - LillyAllenMusic.com
  8. ^ "Auspop.Net: A Totally Fair Local Lily Single". Auspop.blogspot.com. 2009-04-28. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  9. ^ "iTunes - Music - Not Fair - EP by Lily Allen". itunes.apple.com. 
  10. ^ UK Digital Download
  11. ^ AUS Digital Download
  12. ^ "ARIA Charts - Week Commencing: 15th June 2009". Australian Recording Industry Association. Aria.com.au. 15 June 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2009. 
  13. ^ "Lily Allen / Not Fair". Charts.orf.at. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  14. ^ a b Steffen Hung. "Lily Allen - Not Fair". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  15. ^ Czech Republic Airplay
  16. ^ Steffen Hung. "Lily Allen - Not Fair". danishcharts.com. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  17. ^ "Top 40". Top40.nl. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  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. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  19. ^ Irish Singles Chart
  20. ^ "Media Forest: Airplay chart". mediaforest.biz. 
  21. ^ Italian Singles Chart
  22. ^ New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart Retrieved 19 May 2009
  23. ^ ds. "Sns Ifpi". Ifpicr.cz. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  24. ^ Steffen Hung. "Lily Allen - Not Fair". swisscharts.com. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  25. ^ http://zobbel.de/cluk/090221cluk.txt
  26. ^ http://www.aria.com.au/pages/documents/echarts/chart_aria.pdf
  27. ^ Steffen Hung. "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community". Swisscharts.com. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  28. ^ "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 100 Singles 2009". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  29. ^ Jahreshitparade 2009 - austriancharts.at
  30. ^ http://www.top40.nl/pdf/top100/top100-2009.pdf
  31. ^ [1][dead link]
  32. ^ "FIMI - Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana - Ricerche e dati di mercato". Fimi.it. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 18 December 2010. 
  33. ^ "2009 Year End Swiss Singles Chart". Swiss Music Charts. 2009. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  34. ^ UK Singles Chart

External links[edit]