Air Balloon (song)

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"Air Balloon"
Lily Allen - Air Balloon.jpg
Single by Lily Allen
from the album Sheezus
Released 2 March 2014
Format Digital download
Recorded 2013
Studio MXM Studios (Stockholm)
Length 3:48
Label Parlophone
Producer(s) Shellback
Lily Allen singles chronology
"Hard out Here"
"Air Balloon"
"Our Time"

"Hard out Here"
"Air Balloon"
"Our Time"

"Air Balloon" is a song by British musician Lily Allen. The song was premiered on BBC Radio 1 on 13 January 2014[2] and was released on 2 March 2014,[3] as the second single from Allen's third studio album, Sheezus (2014). Allen wrote the song in collaboration with Shellback, who has also worked for Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Taylor Swift and One Direction.[3]


Allen released her second album, It's Not Me, It's You, in 2009, which saw a genre shift to synthpop, rather than the ska and reggae influences used in her debut album, Alright, Still (2006). The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and the Australian Albums Chart and was well received by critics, noting the singer's musical evolution and maturity. It spawned the hit singles "The Fear" and "Fuck You", popular mostly in Europe. Allen and Amy Winehouse were credited with starting a process that led to the media-proclaimed "year of the women" in 2009 that has seen five female artists making music of "experimentalism and fearlessness" nominated for the Mercury Prize.[4]

In 2009, Allen announced that she would be taking a hiatus from musical activities. The following year, she opened a fashion rental shop named Lucy in Disguise with her sister Sarah,[5] followed by the 2011 launching of her own record label.[6] In 2013, Allen revealed that she had begun working on her third studio album Sheezus. On 20 June 2012, Allen tweeted that she was in the studio working with Greg Kurstin on new music.[7][8] She changed her professional name from Lily Allen to Lily Rose Cooper.[9] In August 2013, she changed her professional name back to Lily Allen and tweeted new music would be arriving "soon".[10]


"Air Balloon" is described by Billboard as "more of a loopy lullaby than a slice of social commentary", with a nonchalant Allen singing, "Come meet me in the sky, I'll be waiting for you/And we can't hear what they say/Up in my air balloon, air balloon, air balloon." The song gets its toy piano arrangement, creaseless beat and offbeat Kurt Cobain shout-out partially from Shellback.[11]

Music video[edit]

The official music video for "Air Balloon" was released on Allen's official channel on YouTube on 7 February without prior notice, after the release of "L8 CMMR" for HBO's hit drama Girls,[12] and two weeks after the release of the official lyric video on the same channel. The video was directed by That Go (Noel Paul and Stefan Moore) and shot in Cape Town, South Africa, and Gloucestershire, United Kingdom.

The video shows Allen singing in a green safari field, changing the camera's point-of-view, and launching the camera into space. She relaxes on a couch with a few middle-aged men, interacts with a zebra and a cheetah, and dances in a field of giant growing mushrooms. Allen is later shown floating in space with a giant crucifix, filmed as to make a reference to the name of her album, "Sheezus".

Critical reception[edit]

The song received positive reviews from music critics, who praised the song for being catchy, although some criticised its similarity to that of the work of other artists, particularly M.I.A. Digital Spy awarded the song 3/5 stars, stating the songs hook is "packed to the brim with ear-snagging but nonsensical lyrics", but that it was lacking "the personal touch that usually makes Allen's songs so distinctive and relatable."[13] Pure FM gave the song a positive review, awarding the song 4/5 stars and calling it an 'extremely infectious and catchy track."[14] Rolling Stone called the song "a poppy, synth-heavy cut that shows off the singer's playful and funny sides." [15] The Mirror said the song was "completely infectious and memorable in the best way."[16] The song was likened to M.I.A.'s 2008 hit "Paper Planes". Some people have gone as far as to call it a "rip-off",[17] mainly due to the accent used in the introduction and the "na-na-na-na" hook, which M.I.A. regularly uses in her music. It is unclear whether this is intentional or not.

Live performances[edit]

During an interview with Graham Norton on The Graham Norton Show on 21 February 2014, Allen performed "Air Balloon".[18]

Chart performance[edit]

"Air Balloon" was moderately successful charting at number 7 on the UK Singles Chart, making it her seventh top-ten single in the country, and number 8 in Ireland. Throughout Europe the single managed to chart within the top 10 in countries such as Belgium and Scotland, at number 3 and 9. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland the song was less successful charting at number 40, 68 and 65 respectively.

In Oceania the single achieved success in Australia charting at number 15 and eventually being certified gold by ARIA for sales over 35,000. In New Zealand the single charted at number 30 becoming Allen's lowest peak in that country.

Track listings[edit]

  • Limited Edition 7" Vinyl[19]
  1. "Air Balloon" – 3:48
  2. "Hard Out Here" – 3:31
  • Digital download[20]
  1. "Air Balloon" – 3:48
  1. "Air Balloon" – 3:48
  2. "Air Balloon" (Taiki & Nulight Vocal Remix) – 5:42
  3. "Air Balloon" (Taiki & Nulight Dub Remix) – 5:44
  4. "Air Balloon" (Digital Farm Animals Remix) – 4:29

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[22] 15
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[23] 68
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[24] 6
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[25] 3
Europe (Euro Digital Songs)[26] 14
Germany (Official German Charts)[27] 40
Ireland (IRMA)[28] 8
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[29] 61
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[30] 30
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[31] 9
South Korea (Gaon International Chart)[32] 38
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[33] 65
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[34] 7


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[35] Gold 35,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label
Norway[36] 31 January 2014 Digital download Parlophone
United States[37] 2 February 2014
New Zealand[40]
Brazil[41] Warner Music Group
United Kingdom 3 February 2014 Contemporary hit radio Parlophone
Australia[42] 14 February 2014 Digital download
Ireland[43] 28 February 2014
United Kingdom[44] 2 March 2014


  1. ^ Hogan, Marc (13 January 2013). "Lily Allen Name-Checks Kurt Cobain on Chirpy 'Air Balloon'". Spin. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ Cairns, Dan (25 July 2009). "The rise of a new wave of female singers". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Alexander, Ella (7 September 2010). "Lily Pops Up". Vogue UK. Condé Nast. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Michaels, Sean (21 January 2011). "Lily Allen launches own record label". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Nissim, Mayer (20 June 2012). "Lily Allen back in the studio with Greg Kurstin". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Lily Allen Back In The Studio With Greg Kurstin". MTV UK. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Lily Allen Changes Professional Name to Lily Rose Cooper". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. 2 August 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Lily Allen: new music coming soon?". Belfast Telegraph. Independent News & Media. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Lily Allen Drifts Away on 'Air Balloon': Hear The New Track". Billboard. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Video on YouTube
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Pelly, Jenn (21 February 2014). "Lily Allen Says Her New Record's Called Sheezus". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "iTunes - Music - Air Balloon - Single by Lily Allen". iTunes Store. 
  21. ^ "iTunes - Music - Air Balloon (Remixes) - EP by Lily Allen". iTunes Store. 
  22. ^ " – Lily Allen – Air Balloon". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  23. ^ " – Lily Allen – Air Balloon" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  24. ^ " – Lily Allen – Air Balloon" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  25. ^ " – Lily Allen – Air Balloon" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  26. ^ "Lily Allen – Chart history" Billboard Euro Digital Songs for Lily Allen. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  27. ^ " – Lily Allen Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  28. ^ "Chart Track: Week 10, 2014". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  29. ^ "Lily Allen Chart History (Japan Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  30. ^ " – Lily Allen – Air Balloon". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  31. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  32. ^ "Gaon Digital Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Archived from the original on 7 May 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  33. ^ " – Lily Allen – Air Balloon". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  34. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  35. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2014 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  36. ^ "Air Balloon – Single by Lily Allen". iTunes Store Norway. Apple. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  37. ^ "Air Balloon – Single by Lily Allen". iTunes Store United States. Apple. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  38. ^ "Air Balloon – Single by Lily Allen". iTunes Store France. Apple. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  39. ^ "Air Balloon – Single by Lily Allen". iTunes Store Italy. Apple. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  40. ^ "Air Balloon – Single by Lily Allen". iTunes Store New Zealand. Apple. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  41. ^ "Air Balloon – Single by Lily Allen". iTunes Store Brazil. Apple. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  42. ^ "Air Balloon – Single by Lily Allen". iTunes Store Australia. Apple. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  43. ^ "Air Balloon – Single by Lily Allen". iTunes Store Ireland. Apple. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  44. ^ "Air Balloon – Single by Lily Allen". iTunes Store United Kingdom. Apple. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 

External links[edit]