Published Jun 11, 2018British pop star Lily Allen is approaching songwriting from a different angle with No Shame. In an interview with Vulture last month, Allen explained that on her 2014 album, Sheezus — which flopped, to say the least — she was writing from the perspective of herself as a brand. She was consumed with ratings and hooks; in a self-proclaimed identity crisis, she wasn't writing for herself.
Now, with No Shame, she's writing candidly and vulnerably. On opening track "Come On Then," she's taking a Taylor Swift "Shake It Off" approach by owning all the shit people have said about her. "Since you know so much about me," she sings, "put your money where your mouth is."
On "Trigger Bang," a song we first heard in December, she discuses her challenges with drug use, while "Lost My Mind" explores her post-divorce rut. Themes of motherhood, lost love, substance abuse and smashing the patriarchy all come from a place that we knew Allen had inside her, it's just that now, she's not afraid to bare it all.
"What You Waiting For?," one of the albums strongest tracks, talks candidly about her divorce. "I turned a strong man weak," she sings as she reflects on the fact that she never thought they'd be "one of those couples." She struggles with the all-too-familiar feeling of liberation mixed with regret. The lyrics hit hard, contrasted by an anthemic, bubblegum summertime beat.
This applies to the majority of No Shame. The lyrics are raw and honest, while still providing catchy pop beats with hints of grime woven through.
Later in the album, in a ballad where Allen showcases her vocals in beautiful falsetto, "Apples" explores how she views herself as just like her parents. "I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree," she sings, in a heart-wrenching moment of acceptance.
It hasn't been an easy couple of years for Allen, which we're sure to hear more about when her memoir is released this fall, but until then, No Shame is exactly what it says it is — an album where all is revealed, even the unpleasant parts. (Parlophone)