Leaks are horrible things, aren’t they? It doesn’t matter whether it’s your kitchen sink, your exhaust pipe or your highly-anticipated comeback single, a leak is never good news. Faced with the more modern form of leaking, an artist is faced with two options. They can attempt to remove the leaked material from the Internet (an incredibly stressful and near impossible task), or they can undercut the leakers by rush-releasing their new content themselves. Neither option is ideal, but needs must.
Going for the second option, Lily Allen has released her new single after it was posted online on Saturday night. ‘Trigger Bang’, Allen’s first solo track since 2014, was leaked via a Chinese website and impatient fans were quick to get an earful of her highly-anticipated comeback. Leakers may be a nightmare for an artist, but for a stan, they can be a God-send. Two days after a frustrated Allen promised the track would be available on streaming sites ‘ASAP’, ‘Trigger Bang’ is finally available worldwide.
‘Trigger Bang’ is a slow-burning mid-tempo tune featuring London rapper Giggs. In fact, it’s Giggs who opens the track with a rap that references grams of narcotics “wrapped in elastic in the blue bands”. When Lily takes over, her voice floating like a hologram over the sizzling percussive arrangement, it’s drugs that are on her mind too. “And it fuels my addictions / Hanging out in this whirlwind,” she begins. Her battle with addiction has been well-documented both by the tabloids and herself, but ‘Trigger Bang’ sees Allen sober, steering clear of the class As and, by extension, the in-crowd who peddle them.
Allen’s songs have long been autobiographical, dealing with the downsides of her own fame. In many ways, ‘Trigger Bang’ is familiar territory, Allen still unimpressed by the celebrity lifestyle that triggers her insecurities and leads her down the path of self-destruction. “Anything went, I was famous / I would wake up next to strangers / Everyone knows what cocaine does,” Allen shrugs, looking back to 2006 when she was a rapidly ascending star and under intense media scrutiny.
Musically, however, ‘Trigger Bang’ is relatively new ground. Allen’s no-nonsense, razor-edge spoken style is still here (and sharper than ever), but the production is a vast departure from her last album, 2014’s Sheezus, that relied on big, poppy choruses. ‘Trigger Bang’ is a far more lowkey affair, a sparse, back-to-basics approach reminiscent of the ska-influenced beats of her debut album Alright, Still. Enlisting Giggs was a good choice, too. Allen has form for working with grime artists, having previously collabed with the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Stormzy, and she’s long been keen to shine a spotlight on emerging talent. Giggs may already be a household name in rap circles, but a verse on a new Lily Allen track (and her comeback track, to boot), will be a helpful leg up into the mainstream.
‘Trigger Bang’ sees Allen in a reflective mood, referencing the early days of her fame on this skeletal but classy single. Allen has written about drugs many times before (see ‘Everyone’s At It‘ for the best example), but ‘Trigger Bang’ feels more personal, Allen’s confession she can’t trust herself to hang with the ‘cool gang’ a sad peek into the life of the former wild child. The track is also an evolution for Allen, a step away from the bubbly pop tunes that characterised much of her previous output, and a venture into more stylish, muted territory. ‘Trigger Bang’ proves Allen has lost none of her bite in the time she’s been away, and hints at big and exciting things for the year ahead. We said it back in 2014 and we’ll say it again now: Lily – it’s good to have you back.