Five years after her last record “It’s Not Me, It’s You,” Lily Allen offers her listeners new music with her usual sassy lyrics and British accent.
In her audaciously named new album “Sheezus,” Allen seeks to become the female equivalent to Kanye West’s “Yeezus” in the realm of pop music and demands that her presence be restored.
“Been here before, so I’m prepared/ Not gonna lie, I’m kinda scared/ Lace up my gloves, I’m going in/ … I want to be Sheezus,” Allen proclaims in the title track “Sheezus” after name-dropping pop superstars Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Lorde and “Queen B” Beyoncé.
Although bold, “Sheezus” lacks real musical substance. At first listen, it is quite difficult to get something out of it besides a mere plethora of overly produced pop songs.
Sparks of occasional brilliance are marked by Allen’s sharp, witty lyrics, although they are frustratingly overshadowed by an excess amount of tasteless Auto-Tune that causes plenty of cringe-worthy moments.
“L8 CMMR,” a bubblegum pop song filled with catchy hooks, is all-too infectious and is one of the songs in which Allen whips out her famously cheeky words. She is admiringly possessive over her man as she warns other women, “You can’t have him/ No way, he’s taken ladies/ I’ve got me his babies/ Look at my ring.” With this undeniably irresistible tune, Allen invokes listeners, particularly not-so-single-ladies, to dance along.
Allen shines through most of the album’s artificial musicality in tracks “Silver Spoon,” “URL Badman” and “Insincerely Yours.”Similar to her previous hit “Littlest Things,” she half-sings, half-raps words while daringly throwing the middle finger at her critics.
Songs that draw forth a sour face upon listening are the polka-influenced song “As Long As I Got You” and “Air Balloon” which feature irritating “na na na na’s” and tasteless computerized percussion. Her sugar-sweet voice is shamefully warped once again by computers.
The track “Our Time” is a radio-friendly live-your-life anthem featuring free-spirited lyrics such as “We just wanna dance the night away/ We don’t give a damn what people say.” Tracks such as this prove that artists have unfortunately run the “live your life to the fullest” mentality meaningless and bland.
The album concludes with feminist-toned “Hard Out Here” and it is where Allen finally proves herself worthy of the title “Sheezus” after coming up short in the previous 11 tracks. In “Hard Out Here,” she questions societal gender roles as she unapologetically sings about objectification and double standards faced by women. The defiant nature in which she presents her social commentary is what makes it so astounding.
“If I tell you ’bout my sex life, you’d call me a slut/ When boys be talking about their bitches, no one’s making a fuss/ There’s a glass ceiling to break,” Allen sings.
Perhaps “Sheezus” was meant to be a satire of mainstream pop music but perhaps not. Although “Sheezus” is a fun listen with lyrics as its shining element, it ultimately drowns in its own excessively ornate production. The “Sheezus” crown Allen placed on her head is sure to slip off soon enough.
– Gail Acosta