Written by Allen and Greg Kurstin, the song was released as the fourth and final single from the album, on 5 March 2007, by Regal Recordings. In lily was here sheet music pdf United Kingdom, it was marketed as a double A-side single, along with “Shame for You”. While the melody incorporates a sample of Sandie Shaw’s “Puppet on a String”, the lyrics directly describe Allen’s real life younger brother, actor Alfie Allen, criticising him for his lazy behaviour. Contemporary critics gave the song mixed reviews, some complimenting the production, while others considered it fell flat as the album’s last song.
The single peaked inside the top 20 of the charts in New Zealand and on the UK Singles Chart, where it became her third single to do so. The accompanying music video portrayed Allen’s brother as a puppet while the storyline follows the lyrical meaning of the song. The song was performed live by Allen during her 2007 concert tour, as part of the encore. Musically, the song is set in common time and has a tempo of 120 beats per minute.
While it is played in the key of C major and has backing piano and guitar sounds, “Alfie” also uses a sample from Sandie Shaw’s 1967 Eurovision Song Contest winning song “Puppet on a String”. In an interview with Pitchfork Media, Allen stated that the song’s lyrics describe her younger brother, Alfie Allen. When I wrote “Alfie”, nobody really knew who I was. At first he was really upset about it, because he thought that I was just pointing out all of his bad points and attacking him.