Official Chart Flashback 2009: Lily Allen scores second UK Number 1 with synth-pop dream The Fear

The lead single from Lily's second album It's Not Me, It's You hit Number 1 this week 15 (!) years ago.

"I wanna be rich and I want lots of money, I don't care about clever, I don't care about funny."

So goes the opening to Lily Allen's synth-pop haze of The Fear, the sound of a dream slowly turning into a nightmare. Her second UK Number 1 single, Lily hit the top spot this week 15 years ago in 2009. 

The Fear dislodged Lady Gaga's debut smash Just Dance from the top of the Official Singles Chart, which is handy since both songs make use of 80s-inspired production values that would, over the next few years, become the sound du jour of modern pop music. 

Lily debuted straight in the Number 1 position, with first-week sales of 83,367. The Fear is her longest-running chart-topper in the UK, where it stayed in prime position for a full month. As of 2024, the song has notched up 970,000 chart sales in the UK, including 576k on digital download, 10.8k on vinyl and CD, and 43 million video and audio streams.

MORE: Lily Allen's Official Chart history in full

The track was co-written and produced by Lily's frequent collaborator Greg Kurstin. It's an acerbic, sarcastic and often hilarious look at Lily's changing outlook since the success of her debut album Alright, Still.

"Life's about film stars and less about mothers," Lily memorably deadpans. "I'm not a saint, but I'm not a sinner, and everything's cool as long as I'm getting thinner."

While her first album was focused more so on personal matters, It's Not Me, It's You (which would also hit Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart) was also concerned about the state of society in a post-Blair Britain, mostly on tracks such as The Fear (which satirises Lily's celebrity status), Everyone's At It and the straightforward F*ck You, rumoured to have been written about the head of the extreme right-wing nationalist party the BNP and former US president George W Bush.

Elsewhere in the Official Singles Chart this week in 2009; Alesha Dixon rocketed in to the Top 10 with her mid-tempo ballad Breathe Slow a (which would eventually become her highest-ever charting single, peaking at Number 3) at Number 6, while Jason Mraz's I'm Yours rose to Number 11 and Britney Spears' irresistible Circus jumped to its peak of Number 13.

There were also high risers from The Killers with Human (16), Jordin Sparks' One Step At A Time (16) and Shontelle's shontelligent debut single T-Shirt (25). 

New entries also came courtesy of Tommy Reilly (14), Pussycat Dolls (36) and Airborne Toxic Event (39).

Check out the full Official Singles Chart from this week in 2009 here.

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