BEING a happily married mum seems to suit Lily Allen.
Sheezus, the fruit of her first venture into a recording studio since 2009’s It’s Not Me, It’s You, is also her first album since marrying builder/decorator Sam Cooper in 2011.
He’s the inspiration behind some of the best songs here, from L8 CMMR (“You can’t have him, no way, he’s taken ladies, I’ve got me his babies”) to As Long As I Got You (“I love the way you keep me on my toes, I’d rather be with you than sticking things up my nose”).
It’s a delight to hear her sounding so happy and joyful – but the album’s not all lovey dovey hearts and flowers.
The title track has to be heard to be believed, an I’m-back-so-listen-up statement of intent referencing Lorde (whose style the song seems a partial nod to), Rihanna, Katy Perry, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. The lyrical dexterity with which she weaves all her competitors into one incredible chorus is nigh-on astonishing.
Her spiky side is well to the fore on lead-off single Hard Out Here, a no-punches-pulled attack on what society expects of women (“If you’re not a size six, then you’re not good looking, well you better be rich, or be real good at cooking”) and URL Badman, a swipe at online trolls.
Musically, some tunes are not far off what you’d expect of Lily in 2014, but she’s also capable of smoochy Jessie Ware-style soul (Insincerely Yours) and pop-funk (Close Your Eyes).
My one gripe is Lily’s class A swearing. Her music is perfect pop that I’d be buying for my eight-year-old daughter as well as myself if it weren’t consistently peppered with profanity – instead we both miss out.
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By Andrew Greenhalgh