Album review: “Sheezus”

Despite being a single from her last album, “F*** You (Very Much)” continues to be Lily Allen’s loud and clear message to the world.

In “Sheezus,” Allen manages to call out and ridicule a vast assortment of people, from record producers to internet trolls. While her signature witty lyrics and snarkiness are alive and well, it’s clear in Allen’s third album that she’s changed. Having taken a five yearlong hiatus since “It’s Not Me, It’s You,” and having had two children in the process, her new music is significantly much more mature, which is not a word most people would associate with Lily Allen. For better or worse, Allen has grown up and there are only two predominant themes on “Sheezus”: responding to naysayers and issues she’s observed in the music industry and expressing her contentment with family life.

Allen set the tone for her new album months in advance with the single “Hard Out Here.” While attention garnered by the song and video was both positive and negative, there was no shortage of it. Fans were delighted with her sarcastic and scathing critique of media double standards, while critics considered her use of scantily clad, provocative dancers in the video inappropriate and objectifying. Others accused her of racial insensitivity due to the fact that most of the dancers were black women. However, the fact that the dancers in her video are there for the sake of satire and sarcasm and it’s been a long time since another artist has been criticized for objectifying dancers in their videos, making these claims somewhat ironic.

About half of the songs on “Sheezus,” including the title track, are in the same vein as “Hard Out Here.” In “URL Badman” she ridicules internet trolls. In “Silver Spoon,” she responds to critics critics who accuse her of being a spoiled rich girl. And in the albums title track, she continues to poke fun at the music industry. In “Take My Place,” she makes it clear that she doesn’t want to be the one making these statements and wishes someone else would take over.

With the exception of “Air Balloon,” which is a throwback to her previous fare of goofy, catchy pop music, the rest of “Sheezus” sounds like someone’s Facebook newsfeed. “Our Time,” while adorably catchy and Allen-esque, pretty much comes off as an adult version of Rebecca Black’s infamous “Friday.” The rest mostly consists of happy love songs about her husband.

The album made it to the top spot on her homeland’s UK Official Albums Chart, making it clear that her fans welcome her new found maturity and are happy to have her back. However, while it’s true that there’s no one out there who can “Take (her) Place,” there will always be those of us who miss her more light-hearted work and are sad to see her grow up.