08/06/2018 14:15 BST

Lily Allen Has Rediscovered Herself And Her Sound On New Album 'No Shame' - HuffPost Verdict

This is the product of someone who clearly ran out of f***s to give a long time ago, and it's all the better for it.

Lily Allen

K E Y   P O I N T S

  • ‘No Shame’ is Lily Allen’s fourth album 
  • The album is Lily’s first in four years, following on from the mixed bag that was 2014’s ‘Sheezus’.
  • Lily has parted ways with regular collaborator Greg Kurstin, who she worked with on her last two albums, teaming up with a plethora of producers on ‘No Shame’, including Fryars, Bloodpop, Smarsmith, P2J and Cass Lowe, as well as reuniting with Mark Ronson
  • ‘No Shame’ was trailed by lead single ‘Trigger Bang’, which features English rapper Giggs
  • The album is her most personal to date, with themes including motherhood, divorce, addiction, her relationship with the media and new romances all being addressed

S N A P   V E R D I C T

In almost all of the interviews leading up to the release of ‘No Shame’, Lily has compared the album to its predecessor, ‘Sheezus’. She has repeatedly claimed that promoting ‘Sheezus’ was a difficult time for her, that she was unhappy with the material, lacking in self-confidence, felt like she’d become a “cartoon character” version of herself and was potentially suffering from postnatal depression.

To surmise, it sounds like Lily was having a fairly major identity crisis during that ‘Sheezus’ era, but judging from ‘No Shame’, it sounds as though this is largely behind her.

From the off, on opening track ‘Come On Then’ it’s business as usual for Lily, as she lambasts the people in her life who sold her out to the media, while struggling to differentiate between the tabloids’ portrayal of her and the “real” Lily Allen.

While Lily, undeniably one of the most intriguing British talents of the 21st century, has never been one to shy away from speaking out, both in her music and on social media, her lyrics have never been this honest about her personal life. Over the course of the 14 tracks on ‘No Shame’ we’re taken through the breakdown of her marriage, her feelings of guilt at being a working single mother with a more hectic schedule than most and her self-destructive behaviour while feeling she’s at her lowest ebb.

It’s certainly an uncomfortable listen at times, particularly compared with the optimistic and loved-up Lily we last heard on ‘Sheezus’, but it also feels like we’re being presented with a more authentic artist as a result.

Anyone worrying that the album is all doom and gloom needn’t worry, though, as ‘No Shame’ does have its moments of hope. On the penultimate song, ‘Pushing Up Daisies’, Lily sings of the unabashed glee she’s experiencing in her new relationship with boyfriend Meridian Dan, while closer ‘Cake’ is a message encouraging women to keep pushing forward for a slice of that “patriarchy pie”.

Lily’s playful approach to lyrics has often led many critics to (wrongly) hold a negative opinion of her songwriting abilities, but this is an area in which the introspective approach she’s taken on ‘No Shame’ allows her to really shine.

Similarly, on the likes of ‘Apples’ and ‘Everything To Mean Something’, she’s never been so impressive vocally, with a more stripped-back production allowing her actually-rather-lovely voice to move into the forefront.

S T A N D - O U T  L Y R I C S

Yeah I’m a bad mother, I’m a bad wife, you saw it on the socials, you read it online...” She knows what you're saying about her and, as the album title suggests, she is past caring
Towards the end we weren’t even having sex, I felt like I was only good for writing the cheques, I like a drink but that does not make me a wreck” Lily gets real about the end of her marriage on 'Apples'
If I could go back see myself as a child, I'd say stick to your guns girl, in fact go get that rifle..." Despite it all, Lily has no regrets, as she sings on album closer 'Cake'

T A K E   H O M E  M E S S A G E

In short, ‘No Shame’ is the product of an artist who ran out of fucks to give a long time ago. If that sounds of interest to you, then the album is a must-listen. But if you’ve already made up your mind about the divisive star, there’s not going to be much here to change it.

M U S I C  V I D E O

‘No Shame’ is available to download and stream now.