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Album Review: Lily Allen – No Shame

 
By on Monday, 25th June 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

Words by Lily CresswellLily Allen No Shame album cover

After a 4-year wait, Lily Allen released her fourth studio album ‘No Shame’. The album feels very much like an extension of her third album ‘Sheezus’, keeping the upbeat vibe, and manufactured beats that lie under the majority of tracks on both ‘Sheezus’ and ‘No Shame’. However, Allen has clearly matured since her 2014 album, which is clear from the unrelenting emotional theme undoubtedly driven by her very fresh divorce from Sam Cooper.

The album appears to have been split into three sections, opening with songs that present a club vibe, leading onto a few incredibly intimate ballads, then ending with some straight-up catchy pop tunes. These three sections leave the album feeling rather discordant, but if you’re willing to dig through this stylistic confusion, there are some absolute gems. The first six tracks on ‘No Shame’ are the weakest of the whole 14. I can’t help but feel that Allen has tried too hard to appeal to Friday night clubbers by using over-processed, worn-out beats that feel out of place with the emotional content of the song.

The lyrics of the first track ‘Come On Then’ are hard-hitting as Allen sings about the tribulations of fame, an issue that is particularly relevant in 2018, especially from a female artist. The subtle touches upon anxiety, depression and the hardships faced by a female in the spotlight are poignant and frankly, a refreshing change of the usual topics featured in the charts of love and heartbreak. Isolate the lyrics, and the track is doing the topic a great deal of justice. For example, the lyrics “my head can’t always hold itself so high / what if inside I’m, dying / every night I’m crying” directly deal Allen’s suppression of feelings whilst in the public eye. However, together with the overdone beats and synths, the serious issue is lost in a cloud of ‘try-hard’ club music.

Just as all hope was about to be lost, Allen saves the album with three shining diamonds: ‘Family Man’, ‘Apples’ and ‘Three’. These three songs slow the pace of the album right down and provide a well-needed resting point. The relaxed tempo, introduction of acoustic instrumentation and beautifully melodic vocal lines give listeners an intimate connection with Allen. ‘Family Man’ allows for a different narrative of the divorce, presenting a vulnerability reflected in the melancholic piano accompaniment, whilst ‘Three’ brings us back to the issue of fame, this time from the perspective of Allen’s 3-year old. This second section of the album is a real highlight of ‘No Shame’ and exhibits the raw talent of Lily Allen.

The final five tracks return us to a brighter mood, exemplifying influences from ‘Sheezus’ and Allen’s earlier releases. Although there are still remnants of processed beats heard earlier in the album, there is much more of a radio pop vibe. In the best possible way, it is easy to imagine ‘Pushing Up Daisies’ or ‘Cake’ becoming a tragedy of radio overplay, going on to be the most remembered tracks of the album. With these, Allen has really succeeded in living up to her old school hits such as ‘22’.

The video for ‘Lost My Mind’ really captures the aesthetic of the album: quirky, yet emotionally expressive. It opens with the Allen sat in a bathroom, wrapped in a towel, sporting a wet hairdo. The normality of this scene creates the sense that the audience are intruding on Allen’s day-to-day life, reflected in the lyrics’ intimacy. We are then taken to a bedroom where the audience are made to feel like a fly on the wall as we watch her argue with her partner. It then reaches an emotionally climactic end, her hopelessness summed up as Allen is drenched in rain. The video is simple, yet powerful and adds an emotional dimension to ‘Lost My Mind’ not conveyed on record.

Bypass the first six songs, and ‘No Shame’ is an album with much promise. Despite the discouraging start and the somewhat conflicting styles, the album shines a light on a vulnerability that connects us to Allen. The general production by Fryars and Mark Ronson is exceptional, particularly in the punchy pop tunes, elevating the album even in its weaker sections. Overall, this is an album worth getting if only for the beautifully intense emotion of ‘Three’.

8/10

Lily Allen’s fourth album ‘No Shame’ is available now on Parlophone and Regal Records. Catch Allen on her world tour taking place from June to December, with four dates in the UK from the 11th to the 17th of December. For more live date information, visit Lily Allen’s official Web site.

 

Lily Allen / November and December 2014 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 21st August 2014 at 9:00 am
 

Pop diva Lily Allen will follow her summer appearances at Glastonbury and V Festival with a winter tour of the UK, which will culminate in a headline date at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Concert in the Gardens on the 31st of December. Allen will spend September and October touring in America leading up to her UK dates; full tour information can be found on her official Web site. Check out our recent feature of Allen performing her recent single ‘As Long As I Got You’ at Glastonbury right here.

Tickets for the following shows will be on sale beginning tomorrow, Friday the 22nd of August, at 9 AM.

Saturday 22nd November 2014 – Glasgow Academy
Sunday 23rd November 2014 – Sheffield Academy
Tuesday 25th November 2014 – Manchester Apollo
Wednesday 26th November 2014 – Birmingham Academy
Thursday 27th November 2014 – Brighton Centre
Saturday 29th November 2014 – Plymouth Pavilions
Sunday 30th November 2014 – Portsmouth Guildhall
Friday 12th December 2014 – London Brixton Academy
Wednesday 31st December 2014 – Edinburgh Hogmanay Concert in the Gardens

 

The BBC at Glastonbury 2014 (Friday): Lily Allen playing ‘As Long as I Got You’ at the Pyramid Stage

 
By on Saturday, 28th June 2014 at 11:00 am
 

Wherever you will be hanging your hat this weekend, whether you’re joining the sheep at Worthy Farm or you’ve got your feet up in front of the telly, us here at TGTF will have you covered when it comes to Glastonbury 2014. The dedicated people they are, the folks at the BBC will be working all hours during the festival and feeding us live coverage as it becomes available. What does this mean for you? We’ll be passing along all the best bits to you, our faithful readers.

In a pink strapless top that matched her hair, a loud gold lame skirt and heels, Lily Allen‘s outfit was rather tame for her relatively early slot at the Pyramid Stage at Glasto on Friday. ‘As Long as I Got You’, the song she performs in this video, appears on her 2014 album ‘Sheezus’ and is one of the less controversial numbers on the LP, though I’m unsure about the light up baby bottles onstage? Watch the performance below.

For more of the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage online, head this way. Stay tuned for more videos from Glasto 2014 right here on TGTF.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nFuyIERG1M[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1470: Lily Allen

 
By on Thursday, 13th March 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

Are three Lily Allens better than one? You decide as you watch the new video for ‘Our Time’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfACIxjsuu0[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1384: Lily Allen

 
By on Saturday, 16th November 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

To be honest, I’m not sure how you could have missed Lily Allen‘s new video for her new single ‘Hard Out Here’, out on Monday. But just in case you’ve been locked in your basement for a couple days, here it is. I had some qualms posting the video on TGTF, as you will see below. But regardless about how you feel about the video, if you think the words are a bit too much (I’m in that camp; see the explicit content warning at the start) or even the message Allen claims she’s trying to get across, you have to admit it’s pretty damn catchy.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0CazRHB0so[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: Lily Allen performs ‘Smile’ at a Paris lingerie fashion show

 
By on Friday, 1st March 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

It’s been a while since Lily Allen has made a public singing appearance. So imagine our surprise to hear that she recently showed up to the Etam Lingerie show during Paris’s Fashion Week to perform her massive hit ‘Smile’. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9OgnWpJzJU[/youtube]

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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