So on Monday (March 10th) My 2nd Favourite Popstar Ever Lily Allen debuted a new song and video from her third album, wonderfully titled ‘Sheezus’. Here it is:
Now, its safe to say reaction to this song and, as a result, the whole ‘Sheezus’ ‘era’ has been mixed. The press were quick to pick up on a (now deleted) reply Lily made to someone’s tweet on Twitter (the best place to make a tweet really) that went like this:
RJwilding: “@lilyallen’s new music is actually docile pop rubbish. So disappointing. She properly just wrote some rubbish to cash some cheques.”
Lily: “@RJwilding what you’ve heard so far yes. All i can do is do my best, the labels and the radio stations won’t play the better stuff. keep the faith.”
That’s a fair few elephants in the room. Whilst I guess its refreshing to be honest (which is what I love Lily for) its sad to see her admit that songs like ‘Our Time’ and ‘Air Balloon‘ are “docile pop rubbish”. Labels aren’t always the best at picking singles (I’m still gutted Gaga’s ‘ScheiBe‘ never got a single release) but for an artist to admit they are unhappy with those choices before the album is even out is pretty major. Especially when that artist is Lily Allen, who you’d think was too outspoken to be forced into releasing songs she doesn’t want or pander to mainstream radio. ‘Air Balloon’ got a lot of flak for that very reason, from people like Mr. Wilding. I myself wrote about it before I said I enjoyed its carefree nature but it was more of a B-side standard. Since then I’ve not been able to get it out of my brain and I actually think its worthwhile as a single. The labels plan worked, as the song has had strong radio airplay and charted this week at #7, better than ‘Hard Out Here’ did last year. Personally, I think people are expecting every single song by Lily to have some sort of social commentary, and if that’s your beef you probably won’t enjoy this new one either.
Lyrically, ‘Our Time’ is about a typical pop topic (a popic, if you like): a night out. But rather than being a generic full-on club banger, this is a more chilled tune with lyrics more down-to-Earth than throwing your cash in the air and getting with every single lady you see. And that’s refreshing. Groundbreaking? Not at all. Social commentary? Not really. Does that make it “docile pop rubbish”? I don’t think so. There’s always room for songs about nothing in particular but just lift you up and make you feel good. If every song I listened to was deadly serious I’d be pretty depressed (and/or a Coldplay fan). That’s why I love Kylie Minogue. If I’ve had a stressy day at work or one of life’s little things gets me down, it’s songs like ‘Love at First Sight‘, ‘Lola’s Theme‘, ‘Walking on Sunshine’ and even ‘Air Balloon’ that cheer me up. So don’t hate on Lily Allen because not every new song is another ‘The Fear‘ , ‘F** You‘ or ‘Kabul Shit‘.
Writing that last sentence has kind of put things into perspective a little bit. Perhaps the reason a lot of us are disappointed with the songs from ‘Sheezus’ so far is because every song from ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ was so, so good. As in, my favourite album of all time good. Apart from maybe ‘Hard Out Here’, everything from this campaign sounds like a sequel to Lily’s 2006 debut, ‘Alright, Still’. And once again, that’s fine. Although we are promised the ‘better stuff’ is on the album, I’m not expecting it to beat her sophomore effort. If it does, I will be more than pleasantly surprised. If not, I will still have another album of great pop music made by a great popstar. I can’t wait.
If nothing else, this album ‘era’ has given us these two gems and that’s better than what your favourite could ever pull off: