It’s always the same trajectory. The first record is all about the hard times of climbing your way towards the top. Then the second one’s about all the good times at the top. Then there’s the self indulgent vanity project, the bad-times-I’m-depressed-fame-sucks album, the drug-addicted need-the-money disaster album, the post-rehab god-finding album, and then a comeback striving to recapture the spirit of the first two. Most of which is apropos of nothing. Here is Lily Allen, who’s only made two albums and has already decided being a pop star isn’t for her. The first one was a cheeky lark all about the life and times of single gal in fun old LDN (London). Between one and two Lils had her baptismal dip in the tabloids. She did some public drunkenness, some nip slips, put her foot in her mouth a few times, and quickly learned all about the merciless ways of celebrity media. This, the lead single for her second album is a song showing surprising self-awareness for a supposed myspace brat of 24 years. Yeah, the luxury of stardom is nice – the clothes, the bangles, the bottomless credit line – but it’s empty and shallow and vicious and it’s draining her and she doesn’t recognize herself anymore. Since that came out in 2009 Allen has said that she no longer has any interest in having a music career. After experiencing the notorious savagery of the British press it’s no wonder Allen is feeling disillusioned with celebrityhood. Having every move, word, and outfit hazed by strangers is a tough gauntlet for an admittedly insecure young woman to run. We have just now witnessed the conclusion of Allen’s peer and alleged rival Amy Winehouse – a gifted young star who got caught in a vortex of self-destruction, all under the eternally watchful eye of an ‘entertainment media’ that made what should have been a private struggle with substance abuse into a drawn-out public sacrifice. Lily Allen is often compared with Winehouse, because both swept onto the scene in 2006, with albums produced by Mark Ronson and both developed reputations for hard partying and unapologetic outspokenness. It’s a relief that Allen, having been burned by too much public scrutiny, has taken to protecting her privacy. She’s quit social networking, backed away from the spotlight and now is focused on her new marriage and hopes of starting a family. If she never again feels the need to express herself in music, that would be a shame, obviously, but it would be her own decision, choosing to fade away rather than burn out.