It’s been five long years since Lily Allen released her number one album It’s Not Me, It’s You, even during her hiatus she kept herself busy; she was to become married and have two children, she established her own record label In The Name Of, a short snippet of her song Who’d Have Known was borrowed by T-Pain and notably she contributed to P!nk’s hit True Love. Fans were left in suspense about an Allen comeback as she recorded and released a cover of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know which became a top 10 hit, only to be followed by what they were waiting for; true comeback single Hard Out Here, which gave the songstress two top 10 singles in the UK that particular week. Sheezus, the singer’s highly anticipated comeback album and clearly alleged ‘nod’ to Kanye West, is about to hit the shelves and we can determine whether the world is ready for her return.
Lily gets down to business and opens the album with the title track, Sheezus; lyrically, this song would have been better suited as the comeback single (There goes the bell/I know that sound/I guess it’s time for me to go another round), and interestingly appears to be giving her opinion on how the industry pits the pop divas against one another; with honourable mentions to Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lorde and GaGa (no, she is not making swipes!), and an almost frightening but accurate method to start her own cult. L8 CMMR, although unsure about the auto tune, pays a nice homage to her husband; she makes it clear to the other girls he’s taken and should look elsewhere, the track does grow on you. Second single Air Balloon, as tongue and cheek and poppy as it is to the ears, is a refreshing and fun listen; the same can be said for third single Our Time, which is equally as head nodding and a party keepsake.
Allen’s trademark attitude riddles Insincerely Yours, a pop attack on celebrity culture, and she turns on the emotion in almost power ballad Take My Place. There are many wonderful elements present in As Long As I Got You; a meaningful concept ( her life with her hubby), a cheesy RnB ditty-like melody and a punchy chorus. Lily gets down and to it in the groove laden Close Your Eyes, she trolls the trolls with a dead on description of themselves in URL Badman and lays down how it is with RnB ‘you don’t know me’ track Silver Spoon. There is almost a tropical kind of a vibe to Life For Me, a new mum track that assures us she has left her partying days in the past in substitute and favour of motherhood. Leading single Hard Out Here touches on what goes on in the modern music industry; the objectification of women, unnecessary use of auto tune (cleverly utilised by throwing in auto tune) and the video graphically swipes at said themes; all in the form of a generic pop song. Somewhere We Know by Keane was also a wonderful cover by Lily, it shows the more raw dynamic in her voice.
It is easy to see and hear why Sheezus is one of the most highly anticipated album of 2014; Lily stuck with her recurring producer Greg Kurstin to preserve the sound she is known for and the lyrical content is tight and uniquely hers (except Somewhere Only We Know, obviously). It is a pop album that doesn’t come across as overkill, the only generic poppy songs on Sheezus really are Hard Out Here and Our Time; although they are what we would generally classify as mainstream, they are still written with more wit than what we’re used to hearing on the radio. Sheezus is a deserved title and a well fitted comeback for Lily Allen, and may she continue to reign.