With controversy galore, Lily Allen is back – but I’m sure you already knew that! Following a few years of so-called “retirement”, the outspoken popstar burst back onto the scene late last year. From that moment on her name has barely left the headlines; whether it’s discussions of periods, twerking, racism, haterz, record label disputes or her fellow pop singers, Allen knows how to make a stir. But what the hell is Sheezus all about? Here’s a track-by-track review to try and explain it all.
According to Lilz here, “Ri-Ri isn’t scared of Katy Perry’s roaring” – something that I for one would be terrified of. That aside, this trap-infused opener explores the singer’s return to the music industry, the way the media pits female popstars against each other, and, well, periods. Much like Allen herself, it’s quite difficult to discern whether it’s sincere or taking the piss.
Cutesy melodies and glitchy electronics that are reminiscent of your old Game Boy make up one of the more loveable moments on the album. However, I can’t quite work out whether “late comer” refers to Lily’s husband arriving after she kissed a few frogs, or whether the whole thing is a metaphor for the fact he has stamina in the sack *blushes*.
M.I.A-lite was not something I ever thought Lily Allen would do and neither, it seems, did she. Having basically called the song shit, it’s not surprising that it is. The annoying sing-song verses, the overly high-pitched chorus and the almost plagiaristic post-chorus are just not very good. She nearly saves the whole thing with an amazing middle-eight, but it’s not quite enough. Soz, bbz.
Imagine if Miley’s We Can’t Stop were about a group of British boozers who’d been down your local Yates ‘till closing time, wanted to carry on and then invited everyone back to their flat to get high… You’ve basically got Our Time. You’ll find me with a Lambrini, what about you?
N.B. “I feel fly, I’m rocking Kenzo, I’ll get high but I ain’t doing Benzos” might be my favourite lyric ever.
It wouldn’t be a Lily Allen record without some more social commentary, would it? This time instead of Cheryl ‘Tweedy’ it’s Rita Ora, Cara Delevingne et al. on the chopping board. But, as Lilz has recently said, the whole thing is really about celebrity culture and its representation in the media etc. While musically it’s more mature than Cheryl Tweedy – there’s the nice addition of electric piano and 80s string-synths – by now I think we get the point.
Take My Place
Interspersed amongst the satire and social commentary on Sheezus are moments of pop bliss – and this midtempo emoshe ballad is one of them. There’s something haunting about this song, as it takes you on a journey through the early stages of grief. The frank honesty of the lyrics (“I’d give everything I own if someone else could take my place”) is heart-breaking, and this song offers a glimpse into a very private and difficult moment in the singer’s life.
As Long As I Got You
This George Michael-influenced track finds Lily celebrating family life as only she knows how: “Staying home with you is better than sticking things up my nose.” With rhythmic guitars, hand-claps and accordions, it’s all a bit Hoedown Throwdown. But if that’s your thing, then pop on your cowboy boots and get yourself down to the barn!
Close Your Eyes
Lily Allen does a sex jam. She asks hubby to “ride her like a bike” and then to “park it right up behind” – which sounds a bit like a sex move that’s illegal in certain parts of the world. If I were of a more sensitive disposition, I would possibly have to skip straight to the next track.
I love Internet trolls, mainly for the lolz. Lily, on the other hand, doesn’t seem so keen. Calling out basic Internet bitches, this track is a poppy, dubstep-influenced dig at YouTube commenters, Twitter haterz, “bloggers” and the general ridiculousness of the people online. Complete with goat noises and Vice references, this track is a MEME waiting to happen.
This song sounds a bit like Rihanna’s Rude Boy, but not in reductive way. It’s basically a “fuck you” to people who tell each other to “check their privilege” – possibly the most yawn-inducing term of 2013 – as Lily asks, “Do we have to keep talking about where you think it is I’m from?” It’s not the best, but not the worst. NEXT…
Life For Me
Something about this song takes me back to 2007. Whether it’s the plinky Vampire Weekend-esque guitars or airy vocals, this song has definite summer vibez. With lyrics like, “Please don’t think that I’m being rude, honey I’m just not in the mood, I’m head-to-toe in baby food…” this song sums up the new parent experience rather succinctly.
Hard Out Here
Lily Allen has a baggy pussy, you know.
Why this is here, I’m not quite sure…
Somewhere Only We Know
This song is about a bear, a hare and an alarm clock that decide to make an album of feminist pop songs at Christmas while living in John Lewis. Or something like that.
Lily Allen releases Sheezus on May 5. In the meantime, watch the video for the album’s title track here.