Apparently a homage to ‘Yeezus’ as opposed to a barb at the infamous egotist Kanye West’s recent release, Lily Allen’s ‘Sheezus’ was surrounded by the same gimmicky attention-drawing publicity. Not only did Allen agree with a fan on Twitter that the singles from the album were “docile pop rubbish” but she seems un-bothered by her creation in general, only wanting to sell enough “so that they’ll [her label] pay me to do it again”. It’s as if Lily Allen is trying to remind us that she is still here – so we don’t forget about her whilst she brings up her children – and is really planning to come back with a storm sometime further down the line.
That said, Sheezus is worthy of credit. It’s by no means 2009’s ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ but the artist’s sassy, sarcastic social commentary is ever-complimented by Allen’s saccharine soprano vocal style. Like Yeezus, ‘URL Badman’ makes use of auto-tune and digital components, whilst other tracks borrow from Vampire Weekend’s light-hearded electronic sound such as ‘Life For Me’, which overall serve to make the album incredibly catchy.
‘Insincerely Yours’ is hypnotically crafted with poignant lyrics about the nature of the media and consumerism “I don’t give a fuck about the Delevingne, that Rita girl, about Jourdan Dunn” that artists such as Lily Allen are notorious for having conflicted with (she was arrested as a result of a run-in with the paparazzi). She’s the anti-thesis of the polite put-up-shut-up female artist, and you can feel her anger oozing out of ‘Hard Out Here’ and title ‘Sheezus’ “if I told you about my sex life you’d call me a slut”.
If nothing else, Allen does an excellent job of calling out the double standards set by men and women and points out the lengths feminism still has to go. She’s achieved that much, especially following her controversial music video that mocked Robin Thicke’s ballon message. You have to applause her for that much, even if she’s not too optimistic about the future “Inequality promises that it’s here to stay / Always trust the injustice ‘cause it’s not going away”.
Nor is the album in it’s entirety cohesive; the Keane ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ cover is musically sound but obscurely placed and ‘Air Balloon’ is a pop song that seems solely to pump hot air into the album. Overall it’s good craftsmanship that marks a shift in Allen’s style to more electronic production, there are enough catchy catty snipes at other artists and the media in general to get you riled up to sing along … but this album seems to be missing the Lily Allen pzazz (whatever that is) and even seems conflicting at points. We can only hope that she will return with a clearer message and her badass sparkle with the next record she gives us.