Lily Allen Shades Beyoncé’s ‘Calculated’ Country Cover

Michael Buckner/Billboard via Getty Images/JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images
Michael Buckner/Billboard via Getty Images/JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images
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British former pop star Lily Allen and co-host Miquita Oliver discussed Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter album on the latest episode of their podcast Miss Me? this week. And while Oliver praised the singer’s beauty and musical prowess, Allen threw a few subtle jabs.

“Have you heard the Beyoncé album?” Oliver asked, kicking off the conversation. “I’ve heard a few bits,” Allen replied. “The Miley Cyrus one and I listened to the Blackbird one.”

“That’s the thing with Beyoncé, when she gets me, she gets me,” Oliver said, citing the singer’s “II Hands II Heaven” song as a particular favorite. “She got me in my soul.”

“I have to listen to the whole thing from start to finish,” Allen said, perhaps unenthusiastically, as Oliver pointed out how “vibey” the 42-year-old star looks in her country era looks.

‘Ya Ya’ Is the Best Song on Beyoncé’s ‘Cowboy Carter’ Album

“She does look great,” Oliver added, “She makes me quite excited about 40s.”

In response, Allen made the point that Beyoncé must be “getting some help” to look that great. “She’s got a great team of stylists, great hair people, she works out, [she’s] got access to the best personal trainers in the world—She’s Beyoncé.”

“She has not had any work done, if that’s what you’re implying,” Oliver said in defense. “I looked into her ancestry and I think it’s also rather genetic,” she said, “she’s got great genes.”

Allen then called it “very weird” that Beyoncé would choose to cover Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” on the album. “It’s quite an interesting thing to do when you’re trying to tackle a new genre, and you just choose the biggest song in that genre to cover,” she said, seemingly cracking herself up at the thought.

Beyoncé Gives ‘Jolene’ a Gun-Slinging, Dolly Parton-Approved Remake

The transformative cover, which got the stamp of approval from Parton herself, has otherwise been widely praised.

As one example, The View co-host Joy Behar offered a different take on the song, when she said on the Behind The Table podcast this week, “I like the subject of Beyoncé taking over the lyrics,” because “the original thing with Dolly Parton is so, like, anti-feminist.”

But Allen evidently disagrees. “I mean, you do you, Beyoncé,” she said. “And she literally is doing her—or is she doing Dolly?”

Oliver added that she thought Cowboy Carter was “forcing itself to be part of its own narrative,” as a country album, after which Allen explained why she sees Beyoncé’s moves as “intentional” and “calculated.”

“When Jay-Z got up and said that thing,” she said, referencing the rapper’s decision to publicly call out the Grammys for never giving his wife the “Album of The Year” award, “that was part of this campaign. It was before the album had come out or even been announced and she was wearing the blonde wig and a cowboy hat.”

That said, Allen acknowledged that she understands what the star is trying to do. “It’s a bit about challenging these institutions that have thus far rejected Beyoncé as the icon and institution that she is of herself,” she continued, “Now she’s the most played woman on country radio.”

Finally, Oliver pointed out the irony of Allen’s critiques of Beyonce, as Allen is herself working on a country album.

“But I’m not like, trying to conquer the country market,” Allen responded. “I’m here because I’ve loved country music and always have loved country music—not saying Beyoncé doesn't—but I tell stories in my songs and quite a lot of country music does the same thing. I think it’s well-suited to what it is that I do.”

On ‘Cowboy Carter,’ Beyoncé Reshapes Country in Her Image

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