Five years after ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ hit the shelves, Lily Allen has returned with her third studio LP, ‘Sheezus.’ Dom Kureen takes a gander at what all the fuss is about.
“Somebody remind me where I am, Miami or Timbuktu? Did I ever tell you my uncle’s monkey ran away from the zoo?”
The elementary opening burst of Sheezus’ most captivating harmony, ‘Air Balloon’ extends an apt metaphor for an album of succinct simplicity and unmistakeably transparent intentions.
With its throbbing, carefree waves, the Shellback/Allen collaboration provides a snapshot of Lily’s blissful existence since her real world evolution from Ms Allen to Mrs Cooper.
Where ‘Air Balloon’, ‘Our Time’, Take My Place’ and the lively ‘As Long As I Got You’ sparkle is their brazenly innate authenticity, rising above tacky insults or staged malevolence.
In stark contrast, the dismally maudlin and horribly titled ‘L8 CMMR’ serves as a misguided attempt to recapture the naïve, indignant spirit of the artist’s inaugural LP, ‘Alright, Still.’
Likewise, ‘URL Badman’ provides little more than tedious animus towards fans who dare to question the validity of Allen’s credentials, with some unjustly citing her famous father, Keith, as the driving force behind a prosperous entertainment career.
Additionally, the track contains an almost unfeasibly lousy instrumental section, which sounds as if the singer let her 15-month old daughter, Marnie, bash around on a sticky 1985 Casio SK-1, rather than hiring Greg Kurstin to implement his notoriously lavish production values.
‘Close Your Eyes’ is a minor improvement, but still falls deep into filler territory, with strung out sentimental mush only likely to curry favour with hubby Sam Cooper and a few diehards.
Title track ‘Sheezus’ similarly has its moments, but is too dependent upon crude pop-culture references to warrant a spot on any future ‘best of’ compilations.
Thankfully, the nostalgia sodden ‘Life For Me’ feels less affected, with an unravelling recollection of personal growth. Painting a portrait of contentment, the tune borrows much of its baseline from Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ and seems in conflict with spikier cuts elsewhere.
Having leapt straight to the summit of the UK album charts, ‘Sheezus’ is destined to provide financial and commercial dividends for Lily Allen. There’s enough decent material to warrant an £8.99 iTunes outlay, even if it all feels a fraction flat in the looming shadow of two previous knockout EPs.
If you’re intent on stumping up the bucks, do yourself a favour and dig £2 deeper for the deluxe edition, where the handful of supplementary bonus tracks offset some of the overplayed concepts elsewhere.