This review is really quite poignant for me as I have been a huge fan of Lily Allen since I discovered her 2006 debut at the tender age of 13. Lils played a part in the soundtrack of my adolescence as her second album It’s Not Me, It’s You was released as I left secondary school, so she followed me into higher education. Now, with just a month to graduating my degree, Allen is back with a stunning return to form.
The first four tracks were all pre-released, and they create what I imagine a Lily Allen EP would sound like. A gritty, witty opener with enough attitude and snarl to keep you intrigued (‘Sheezus’) and a momentous everyday anthem for the people commenting on the societal nuances we all relate to (Our Time) sandwiching two bubblegum pop tracks with juxtaposing lyrical content (‘L8 CMMR’, ‘Air Balloon’). Fortunately, the album doesn’t fall off after this point, in fact the first fifteen are merely a launchpad as Lily shows variety with heart wrenching, soaring ballad ‘Take My Place’ coming head to head with the country charged ‘As Long As I Got You’ which feels like ‘Not Fair’s older sister where praise has replaced insult.
‘Close Your Eyes’ is a R & B slow jam yet Lily keeps the lyrics true to what her fans expect as she exclaims ‘when I’m standing there in my underwear, I know I’ve let myself go’. ‘Life For Me’ feels like a coming of age track for the songstress as she feels discontented that her friends are still out getting wasted whilst she has settled into motherhood, it’s a shame as this feels like a track Lily needed to write but it’s quite dull as opposed to the rest of the album. ‘URL Badman’ is a festival jam with old style verse merged with shimmering synth dub step choruses and ‘Silver Spoon’ is a true highlight as it resembles the likes of track found on Alright, Still which made people pay attention to this unique musician with a razor wit in the first place.
Sheezus isn’t as much of an instant love affair as I had with her second album, yet it is still an incredibly accomplished body of work and Allen managed to avoid falling into the safe ground of writing about the joys of parenting and baby sick. She’s reclaimed her place in the diva stratosphere and penned a feminist anthem for the ages in the form of ‘Hard Out Here’. Well done Lils, and welcome back.