Recording information: Arcadium Studios, London; Echo Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Fryarcorp HQ; MXM Studios, Stockholm, Sweden; MyAudiotonic Studios; Poor Kevin's Studio, Woodland Hills, CA; RAK Studios, London, UK; Rocket Studio, London, UK; Sound of Sterloid, Los Angeles, CA; The Matrix, London.
Photographer: Jamie Nelson.
Unknown Contributor Role: Michael Whitham.
At her best, Lily Allen operates just at the edge of a crowd, slyly and snidely passing judgment from a safe distance. That sense of remove remains on Sheezus, her overdue third album, but she's no longer an observer; she's an outsider longing to be inside. Blame it on her extended hiatus. Allen lay silent for a half decade, choosing to pursue a family life instead of the pop charts, but now that she's primed for a comeback, she's ready to ruffle some feathers, baiting Kanye West with her album title, sweetening M.I.A.'s style for "Air Balloon," and taking swipes at Rihanna, Katy Perry, Beyonc‚, Lorde, and Lady Gaga on the album's title track. The subtext is clear: Allen is no provincial pop star; she belongs in the big leagues. There are glints of Lily's satirical swagger and casual craft, but Sheezus also finds her sneering at and borrowing from modern R&B ("Silver Spoon," "Hard Out Here"), while also finding her writing many songs about her husband, warning all other females to not give him so much as a second look ("L8 Cmmr"). The best moments come unexpectedly: "Insincerely Yours" slides along to a yacht-soul groove, "Life for Me" cleverly twists Vampire Weekend's Graceland obsessions, and although the target of an Internet troll is beneath her, the barbs on "URL Badman" are sharpened. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Rolling Stone - 3 stars out of 5 -- "The brilliantly titled SHEEZUS has loads of great punch lines. But Allen also rocks aÿsisterly warmth..."
Paste (magazine) - "Allen continues her cheeky ruminations over good-timing dance pop..."