Song of the Day #4,657: ‘Chinese’ – Lily Allen

‘Chinese’ is one of my favorite tracks from Lily Allen’s 2009 album It’s Not Me, It’s You. I like it even more after learning, just now, that it’s about her mother.

I always assumed it was about a romantic relationship, but the lyrics about returning home to a comforting meal, relaxing, and being lovingly reassured make a lot more sense when you know she’s writing about a parent.

I was initially confused by the phrase “we’ll get a Chinese and watch TV,” expecting “we’ll get Chinese and watch TV,” but apparently that’s the way Brits say it. I love hearing British language patterns and slang in songs.

Allen fell into a slump after this album, releasing the disappointing Sheezus five years later. I didn’t realize she had dropped another album, No Shame, in 2018. I’ll have to check that one out.

Allen’s personal life has been typically tumultuous in recent years, as she divorced her husband of nine years in 2018, then married actor David Harbour in mid-2020.

[Verse 1]
I see you from the sky
And I wonder how long it will take me to get home
I wait for an hour or so at the carousel
I have a cigarette to pass the time
‘Cause the traffic’s hell

[Chorus]
I don’t want anything more
Than to see your face when you open the door
You’ll make me beans on toast and a nice cup of tea
And we’ll get a Chinese and watch TV
Tomorrow we’ll take the dog for a walk
And in the afternoon, then maybe we’ll talk
I’ll be exhausted so I’ll probably sleep
And we’ll get a Chinese and watch TV

[Verse 2]
You wipe the tears from my eye
And you say that all that it takes is a phone call
I cry at the thought of being alone and then
I wonder how long it’ll take till I’m home again

[Chorus]
I don’t want anything more
Than to see your face when you open the door
You’ll make me beans on toast and a nice cup of tea
And we’ll get a Chinese and watch TV
Tomorrow we’ll take the dog for a walk
And in the afternoon, then maybe we’ll talk
I’ll be exhausted so I’ll probably sleep
And we’ll get a Chinese and watch TV

[Bridge]
I know it doesn’t seem so fair
But I’ll send you a postcard when I get there

[Chorus]
I don’t want anything more
Than to see your face when you open the door
You’ll make me beans on toast and a nice cup of tea
And we’ll get a Chinese and watch TV
Tomorrow we’ll take the dog for a walk
And in the afternoon, then maybe we’ll talk
I’ll be exhausted so I’ll probably sleep
And we’ll get a Chinese and watch TV

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,657: ‘Chinese’ – Lily Allen

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Sweet song. In our family, though, it would more likely be getting “a Thai” or “an Indian.”😀

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