April 30, 2014

Lily Allen’s Sheezus: What You Need To Know
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Lily Allen’s Sheezus: What You Need To Know

Following what may well be the shortest retirement in history, next week sees the return of Lily Allen with her new album, the cheekily titled Sheezus. While Kanye assembles a team of lawyers, here’s everything you need to know…

What’s the background?

Back in 2009, with two multi-platinum selling albums already under her belt, the future was looking pretty bright for Lily Allen’s musical career. But then the singer started to make noises to the effect that she had ‘no plans’ to record another album, before finally announcing that she was retiring, playing what was expected to be her last gig in at Wembley Stadium, supporting Muse, in September 2010.

However, a couple of years later in 2012, having apparently changed her mind, Allen announced via her Twitter account that she had been working with Greg Kurstin on a new record. Then it all went quiet for a bit…well, as quiet as it gets for Lily Allen, who still found time to get embroiled in one of Azalea Banks’ many Twitter spats, something the singer says has inspired a track on the new record. Finally, in November last year, Allen re-emerged with her first single proper in nearly 4 years, 'Hard Out Here', complete with Robin Thicke-parodying video. Following two further singles, ‘Air Balloon’ and ‘Our Time’, the album finally hits the shelves next week.

Who’s producing it?

As with her previous two albums, the majority of the production duties are being handled by Greg Kurstin, although there are also contributions from DJ Dahi, who produced the title track, and Swedish producer Shellback, who has a songwriting credit for ‘Air Balloon’.

Sheezus Lily Allen

What are the standout tracks?

Sheezus is a tricky album to pin down, with a spectrum of musical influences at work ranging from the bubblegum pop of ‘Air Balloon’ and ‘Life for Me’ and the G-Funk of ‘Insincerely Yours’ right through to the dubstep-flavoured ‘URL Badman’, an ode to online trolls hiding behind their keyboards and one of the album’s highlights. Elsewhere, ‘Take My Place’ kicks off with a surprisingly tender moment that may indicate that motherhood has mellowed the singer a little.

Does it deliver?

In places, Sheezus is the kind of pop record you would hope for from Lily Allen and it does have its moments; there’s an impressive range of musical flavours on the album and the singer still has a way with a melody. At other times though, Sheezus feels like a bit of a letdown, particularly in the lyrics department, where the subject matter occasionally veers into tiresome garden-variety putdowns and name-dropping.

If the level of maturity on display in the music could be replicated in the lyrics then we’d be talking about a much better album, which is a shame because it’s obvious that Lily Allen is a capable talent. Sheezus won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but the fans will enjoy it and, more than anything else, it’s nice to have one of pop music’s most colourful characters back on the scene.

Sheezus will be available in hmv stores and from our download store from May 5th. You can pre-order it nowfrom your local hmv

Lily Allen - Air Balloon (Official Video)

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