Menu ▲

Album Review: Lily Allen ‘Sheezus’

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on May 20, 2014

Words by Cameron Nicholls

Lily Allen is back. The queen of provocative has returned with Sheezus, her third offering. Five long years have passed since It’s Not Me, It’s You, during which Allen paused her musical career to get married and raise two children.

While Sheezus shows that Allen hasn’t lost her sardonic wit nor biting social commentary, her style has certainly changed. Her smooth vocals remain as sweet as ever, but the introduction of auto-tune in some of the early tracks is disappointing. But where production may frustrate, her potent lyrics easily makes up for it, with hilarious one-liners and tongue-in-cheek opinions.

Opening her album with the heavily sarcastic Sheezus, she makes her point clear from the beginning – “Give me my crown bitch, I want to be Sheezus”. Allen doesn’t hold back.  It’s a bold and very interesting move, choosing an album name solely so that it references Kanye’s Yeezus. Allen is out to reclaim her place at the top of the industry. The track is strangely different from previous albums, with clashing layers, and digital synth. Described as “anti-pop”, it might be more appropriate in sci-fi movie, rather than the radio.

This synth beat also appears in L8 CMMR, a catchy song about her husband – perhaps a shock to many fans used to her slamming inadequate lovers and pathetic ex-boyfriends.
Along with Air Balloon, these songs rely on synthetic production rather than her supple voice, but their engaging choruses say a lot about Allen’s artistry.

For those disappointed, the album makes a sharp turn from there. Tracks like Our Time bring you back to the innocent, lullaby vocals of her previous albums. Her almost childlike voice betrays the sharp wit and scathing honesty. Without listening to the lyrics, you could easily be fooled into thinking she was describing a blissful day at the park. But in reality, she delivers a scathing blow to all that is wrong in the music and entertainment industry.

Insincerely Yours deals with the fickle nature of the industry, admitting, “Let’s be clear, I’m here to make money”. One thing you can never criticise Allen for is a lack of courageous one-liners – “I don’t give a fuck about your Instagram, about your lovely house or your ugly kids”. Another of the album’s best songs, URL Badman is written from the perspective of a young London teen wanting to write for vice – equipped with subtle dubstep flavours.

Feminist anthem Hard Out Here  thrusts sexist music producers into the spotlight. Irritating and redundant auto-tune aside, this is one of the best pop songs of recent years because Allen says what too many have refused to, or been afraid to admit for years. She unravels stereotypes, empowers female entertainers and challenges industry expectations – wrapped up nicely with a meaty chorus and heavy beat: “Don’t need to shake my arse for you ‘cause I’ve got a brain”.

From caressing melodies, raw vocals and synthetic backing Sheezus is incredibly diverse – although at times unbalanced. Though Allen may never achieve the elusive title of Sheezus as queen of the charts, maybe becoming “Sheezus” has nothing to do with popularity. It is an album that is needed, for both her sweet vocals and her outspoken voice, brilliantly slamming everything that is wrong in her world.

Controversial, provocative, clever. Lily Allen wouldn’t have it any other way.

Splendour in the Grass side shows:

Thurs 24 July – Festival Hall, Melbourne
Thurs 25 July – Hordern pavilion, Sydney

Tickets on sale Mon May 26








Comments are closed.