Lily Allen‘s fourth studio album No Shame is a celebration of self-discovery. She’s never been one to sit quiet and once again she’s taking a stab at all those who’ve slighted her. What’s different than previous efforts is that she’s including herself in the mix, going beyond rudimentary self-critiques and getting deep into the heart of the problem. She calls herself selfish and inattentive, and even goes as far as to analyze her role as a mother all in hopes of coming out a better person.
The production on No Shame follows the same formula as Allen’s other albums, which works to her advantage as the bubbly pop elements juxtaposes well against the heavier lyrics. As a complete package it captures Allen’s dynamic personality, a combination of sweet and sour. At its best she takes the lowest moments of her life and finds the silver lining, creating a timeline that shows how much she’s matured as a songwriter. It took guts to say some of the things she said, and by the sound of it she’s ready to take the plunge into another phase of her creative life.
Allen is no longer sitting in silence, and finally saying to hell with being polite. She’s been called a bad mother and a terrible wife, and the slimy critics are hiding behind social media so she can’t necessarily lash out. The beat is jovial, but there is an air of tension that captures a growing rage. She’s letting loose, venting her frustrations before it swells into full on hate: [LISTEN]
While supremely talented, Allen has never been completely comfortable with being in the spotlight. The pressure took its toll and like many before her she fell back into drugs to cope. A little older and wiser, she has realized that it’s better to be yourself than to keep up with someone else’s expectations. Now that being a celebrity isn’t a priority she can finally relax and enjoy herself: [LISTEN]
She savagely broke her man’s heart, and now she’s feeling an avalanche of regret. It was a bad split and she’s realizing that she made a terrible mistake. The thought is bringing her back to when things were perfect, and that she was serious when she said that she wanted to marry him. Now that she’s alone all she has are her thoughts, and the screaming silence is driving her mad: [LISTEN]
The bickering has reached its boiling point, and she’s trying to be mature about the situation and find a resolution. The details of what brought them to this point remains a mystery, but the playfulness of the beat suggests that it was juvenile in nature. They poked and prodded each other and what started out as innocent jabs has turned into a full on brawl. She’s fed up and ready to move on: [LISTEN]
It started out as innocent fun, but she quickly found herself falling in love. He on the other hand kept it casual, and his flirtatious nature has gotten to her. She’s jealous, staring at her phone all night waiting for a call that’ll never come. The isolation and wondering is putting her in a frantic state and she’s desperately looking for some kind of respite. She’s hoping it’ll be him: [LISTEN]
The celebrity lifestyle has put her in a compromising position and now that she’s in the thick of it the stakes are higher than ever. She’s not talking about money or fame, but instead expressing concern over her safety and mental well-being. Being manipulated and taken advantage of is making her feel hopeless and she’s aiming to break free of the chains by airing her grievances: [LISTEN]
Making the transition from pop star to family woman is not easy and she’s trying to let her lover know that she’s trying. The desire to live a settled life is in her, but with so much going on in her career it’s hard for her to think beyond what is in front of her. It’s a monumental struggle and she’s hoping that they can overcome it, but first she needs some alone time so that she can reflect: [LISTEN]
Allen strips down to the bare essentials. She’s reminiscing over the good times and lamenting over how far they’ve fallen. They made love all day, smoked cigarettes and daydreamed about what was in store for the future. But like most relationships the puppy love stage dwindled and they had to face the cold hard truth, which was that they weren’t good for each other in the first place: [LISTEN]
Allen takes the perspective of her daughters and blasts herself over some of her shortcomings. She travels too much and isn’t attentive enough and she’s looking to dilute the guilt by airing her dirty laundry. Much of her self-loathing comes from her own failed relationship and she’s taking the opportunity to reevaluate her life and see what she can do to avoid making the same mistakes again: [LISTEN]
She’s delving deep into the darkness, revisiting the low moments from her past. All the alcohol, drugs and partying left her feeling numb and she had to do some heavy soul-searching to feel love again. It was the most difficult thing she had to overcome with the toughest part being the cold isolation. Now that she’s broken through she’s hoping she can stay afloat by taking one day at a time: [LISTEN]
Allen embraces the sound of pop reggae and blasts all the shady leeches out there posing as friends. They’re destructive forces, enemies who pose as allies. She’s seen her fair share and is making sure that in the future she will keep them at arm’s length. Fortunately she’s not raging or sulking, instead keeping a light attitude and not dwelling too much on those who don’t matter: [LISTEN]
After pitching through the order she’s back at the top of the rotation. Her escapades had her getting intimate with a number of losers including one she had to send off in an Uber. None have been able to satisfy her needs and the game is beginning to get a little old. Looking for that special somebody has not been easy, but she’s hoping that he’ll emerge like a knight in shining armor: [LISTEN]
Love has returned and she’s not only indulging in the moment but looking years into the future. She’s talking marriage, kids and even death. The thought is slightly morbid, but she wants her lover to know that when she says ’til death do us part she means it. Her commitment is deep and after all that she’s been through over the past few years she’s ready to settle down and build a family: [LISTEN]
Allen takes a cliche statement and flips it into words of encouragement. The patriarchal industry is stifling and she’s encouraging those in the same position to take charge and appreciate all that they’ve earned. Life is too short and she’s tired of adhering to other people’s standards. After all that she’s been through she’s taking a firm stand both personally and professionally: [LISTEN]