If you thought settling down and having children would tame Lily Allen’s music, you were sorely mistaken. “Give me the crown bitch, I wanna be Sheezus”, Allen asserts on opener and title track ‘Sheezus’. Appropriating the name of Kanye West’s recent album Yeezus, she has the same confidence and ambition of Ye’s album but none of the futurism is in Allen’s album sonically. She said it wasn’t inspired by his music though but where she was in her life at the time. From lead single ‘Hard Out Here’, she divided opinion dissecting gender politics and body representation – in a literal manner in the accompanying video. Lily Allen would be the friend who tells you straight away if you’ve got food around your mouth and nothing’s changed.
She even admitted to a fan that she thought the early singles for Sheezus were shit, perhaps taking her honesty too far in a move that no doubt had social marketing execs wondering what the fuck she was doing. She was right though that the other tracks on the album sound completely different and more akin to the Lily Allen who handed out insults in sun dresses and trainers.
John Lewis-approved single “Somewhere Only We Know” is as sickening as the Christmas pudding you probably ate as Allen sang sweetly over rabbits frolicking in the snow, a scene that tugged people’s heartstrings and sent the song to #1. Yuck. Thank god none of the album follows in its tracks, even though it’s all just as unshameful in its brand engaging. “L8 CMMR” premiered on Girls and feels like the follow-up to “Not Fair” which told the tale of an exasperated Allen, publicly shaming her then-boyfriend for not being able to make her cum. Here she reverses the gender and there’s no scarcity of fluids to be seen. “My lover shoots and scores like he’s Maradonna… under the covers, my man is a bad motherfucker”, she proudly proclaims.
“You can’t have him!” she gleefully continues. Instrumentally, Sheezus is all over the damn place. There’s bubblegum synth-pop, EDM breakdowns, MIA-envious choruses and even a song that wouldn’t sound out of place if Ezra Koenig sang over it. The name checking is out of control too, from listing pop titans (Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Lorde, Katy Perry, Rita Ora) to models (Cara DeLevigne, Jourdan Dunn) to rock icons (Kurt Cobain). However, nothing is quite as ridiculous as the almost unbelievable line on ‘Sheezus’, “Periods… We all get periods… Every month, that’s what the theory is.” Thanks for that essential lesson in female biology Allen. Overall, her latest album feels like a bit of a latecomer but there are some salvageable moments. Probably not worthy of Sheezus status though.