sat 19/10/2019

CD: Lily Allen - Sheezus | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Lily Allen - Sheezus

CD: Lily Allen - Sheezus

The smart-mouthed third album from a straight-talking pop princess

Lily and corgies say, "Gimme the crown, bitch, I wanna be Sheezus"

Travelling minstrels once spread news and social commentary via song, leavening it with bawdiness, social satire and raw humour. On those terms, Lily Allen is the premier folkloric songwriter of our times. Her songs are filled with pin-sharp detail that places them right in the now, some so precisely that by the end of the year they’ll be outdated (notably the title track’s caustic crack at the girl-pop crown). If music were judged on lyrics alone Sheezus would receive a straightforward 5/5 score, for its ruthless, specific, righteous perspective on themes running from our blank-eyed i-celeb culture to Allen’s conflicted joy at being a mother and wife (“Staying home with you is better than sticking things up my nose”).

Unfortunately, despite reuniting with Greg Kurstin, who helmed production on her niftier It’s Not Me, It’s You album, the music doesn’t always match the cheeky brilliance of the words. A lot of it has simply marched too far into horrible Katy Perry/Ellie Goulding plasticity, the sonic saccharine just beyond electro-pop, especially the single “Air Balloon” which has the same irritating nursery rhyme quality as Robbie Williams’ “Candy”. 

Then again, there’s enough good stuff here: the everyday hedonism of “Our Time”, the joyful hoedown paean to husband and home, “As Long As I Got You”, the lovely slowie “Take My Place”, and a variety of cleverly crafted swipes at social media. The concluding song (before the John Lewis Christmas Keane cover that her record company have insisted on tacking at the end) is the single “Hard Out Here”, a modern feminist statement of intent, the video for which caused a flurry of jabbering social media blah about possible racism. Bollocks. Lily Allen is a great pop star, one who wears her heart on her sleeve and cuts through the bullshit. Her latest album is hugely likeable for that alone and, happily, some of the songs are cracking too.

Overleaf: watch the video for the single "Sheezus"

The music doesn’t always match the cheeky brilliance of the words

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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