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December 2018 / January 2019
Review

Lily Allen - No Shame

‘No Shame' is Lily being herself, for herself.
Lily Allen - No Shame
Published: 10:09 am, June 06, 2018
‘No Shame' is Lily being herself, for herself.

Label: Parlophone
Released: 8th June 2018
Rating: ★★★★

Lily Allen has lived her life in the spotlight. From the sunshine success of ‘Smile' through the skipping uncertainty of ‘The Fear' and the brash, take-no-prisoners of ‘Hard Out Here', she's used her music as a mirror. Part reflection, part idealistic hope for change, part brave face, the one thing that's tied her journey together is her own outspoken honesty.

The thing is, while Lily has been telling tales of bad boyfriends, the streets of London and numbing the pain, the tabloid media has been telling tales of Lily. Her every move scrutinized, her every tweet picked apart, argued and dismissed and her every truth seen as a stunt, her life in front of the camera comes with its own set of crosshairs.

‘No Shame' sees her taking back control. "I try to keep an open mind; I feel like I'm under attack all of the time" starts ‘Come On Then'. "My head can't always hold itself so high," it admits but rather that welling in misery, putting on a fake smile or turning it all into a joke, she takes a breath and digs deeps. "Come on then, if you know so much about me, put your money where your mouth is," she invites. ‘No Shame' is her refusing to feel guilty about other people's expectations. ‘No Shame' is her side of the story.

What follows is a scrapbook of the past few years. The bruises in high definition, Lily doesn't hold back. Songs of addiction, betrayal, loneliness and tears find a home next to new resolve. Skipping between big, silver-lined ballads (‘Family Man') glitching dance snarls (‘Trigger Bang') and quiet heartbreak (‘Apples'), ‘No Shame' cherry picks the best, brightest and boldest of Lily's interests and brings them together. Wickedly smart, there are echoes of everything that has come before, but it's less brash, less in your face. Across ‘No Shame', there's a tentative peace. A hard-fought comfort in this moment.

After trying to be the loud, proud, social commentator people said they wanted on ‘Sheezus', ‘No Shame' is Lily being herself, for herself. And there's nothing more powerful. "Don't let anyone tell you who you are, or who you can or can't become," sings the closing track. "I can't see any reason why you can't have your cake and eat it," Lily grins celebrating small victories, vulnerability, resistance and no shame. Ali Shutler

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