Before delving into why Lily Allen’s newest album Sheezus is her worst effort yet it’s important to understand first her demographic, which lands somewhere between 12-25 – the age range in which an identity crisis is par for the course. It’s in this bubble, this snapshot in time that Allen looks to capitalize. She takes a step back in her own growth in order to appeal to a younger, larger fan base – one that’ll look to Allen to help soundtrack whatever petty nonsense comes with being a spoiled adolescent. She’s using this as an opportunity to air her grievances to an audience who hasn’t already been exposed to her long list of gripes and complaints. But privileged bellyaching and a general confusion towards life is not the only reason why Sheezus flounders like a fish out of water.
What Lily Allen proves on this album is her lack of mental fortitude. She cries out at every turn, fussing about how this or that person has done her wrong, specifically the media. She tries to beat journalists to the punch by mapping out reasons why she isn’t successful and in the process falls victim to her own critique, binding herself to her oppressors instead of rising above. She yammers on about how she isn’t like others, but proceeds to copy artists like M.I.A. and Pink down to the most minute detail. Producer Greg Kurstin does his best to accommodate, but lyrically it’s too self-indulgent to even matter. It’s an hour long, childish rant about not getting what she so desperately wants: blind acceptance. Baby wants her bottle now, and this is her asking for it.
Sweet and tender with a bit of tarty sass, all of which holds a surprisingly comfortable feel to it. But comfort and talent breach at the helm as the lyrical content wavers in a substandard way. The message is a little self-righteous, and the parody a little too transparent to constitute as a hit:
Tugging at the cape of the Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love,” – especially on the hook – moments of nostalgia arise like a bad rerun set on repeat. Most of it comes from the musings of Mariah who essentially did the same on “Fantasy.” But also from the premise – the classically annoying boy crazy song:
With the clap-clap, nah-nah, hey-hey boondoggling of the beat – it’s almost a given that this monstrosity will end up like a ghost roaming the halls of every mall in America. Forget the Forever 21 attitude, it’s the absent mindedness of the lyrics that turn this into a free thinker’s worst nightmare:
If she wants to stop being compared to other artists she should stop trying so damn hard to sound like other artists. It’s hard to disassociate her from the likes of M.I.A. - from the lofty tone and fluttering attitude to the quirky little eye wink moments – and it comes to unavoidable fruition here:
Boogie is a complementary style for her, her soft tones absorbing the slick production like a young Lyn Christopher. She doesn’t lose her bounce and still sounds flirty enough to fulfill whatever strange quarter-life crisis she’s going through. It’s a shame how quickly it disappears though:
Poor princess ashamed of her golden tiara and place atop the ivory tower. Most artists figure out how to break through and see what lies beyond themselves, not whine and moan. It’s not a good look or sound for a star who’s beginning to sound more and more like an entitled prick as the album drones on:
The barn door flies open revealing Allen’s adept ability to dabble in genres. It’s just a toe, however, so unfortunately it lands somewhere near Dollar Store quality. The lyrics are still positive though, but even then her selfish motives emerge dragging the song down to shallow depths of self-loathing:
The familiar Brand New Heavies beat gives Allen an opportunity to play catch up, her voice finally finding stable ground to walk on. It appears that she’s ready to turn the corner and end the charade, but inexplicably she resorts back to cheap lyrics – some odd imagery considering her demographic:
If she didn’t spend so much time crying about bad press she might have been able to invest in the making of a good album. Her writing behaves like a cheap mood ring, shifting back and forth thoughtlessly between love and ire. It’s too novel an approach for someone who’s been around as long as she has:
At this point the chatter proves to be too much, so hurt by her critics that she’s now bound to them forever. There’s nothing left to say, it’s a complete collapse that is as tacky and as boring as the album cover. She’s reaching for words, and instead of finding greatness she finds Maury:
With a piña colada in one hand and a whole lot of self-loathing in the other Allen makes for the beach for a little r&r. It’s strange timing seeing as how she’s done very little work on the album, and yet somehow she seems exhausted. It’s devoid of passion and telling of her life of privilege:
Borrowing a line from Three 6 Mafia, London’s sweetheart challenges all the misogyny haunting pop music. She calls out about every double standard in the book, and she succeeds in her commitment to parody. As a single it struck a chord, but among other lamenting it just fades into obscurity:
By the sound of it Lily Allen hasn’t grown one iota since her first album. If anything she’s regressed drastically like a female Benjamin Button. She sounds as confused as ever pouring all of herself out in desperation. She’s essentially given up on whatever artistic integrity she had left: