What you need to knowPop singer-songwriter Lily Allen is touring the UK after an opening gig at the Shepherd's Bush Empire to promote her new album Sheezus. Allen, best known for her hit albums Alright, Still and It's Not Me, It's You took a break from performing between 2009 and 2013.
Sheezus, due for release 6 May, has been accused of racism after one of its songs Hard Out Here featured a video of black women dancers twerking to illustrate a point about sexism. Allen is currently touring venues in the UK including the Music Hall, Aberdeen, 23 May and Radio 1's Big Weekend, Glasgow, 24 May and will also appear at Glastonbury.
What the critics like"A sense of fun, bolshiness, vulnerability", and songs about periods and tiaras, Allen has all these and more, says Ed Potton in The Times. The new material is punchy and melodic, her voice gaining in power and her lyrics are as pointed as ever.
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Allen's new material from Sheezus is "sparkling and vibrant", says Ian Gittins in The Guardian. Once again she delivers candid personal confessionals and caustic social commentary over endearingly breezy electropop and characteristically barbed R&B.
Controversy can't ruin Allen at her best, says Emily Mackay in The Independent. She's on surer ground on a stage than a soapbox and her new songs, for all their witty and complex takes on growing older and changing priorities, are "fresh, sweet and breezy".
What they don't like"There are flashes of the Allen spark", reminding us of old school Allen at her best, says Alice Vincent in the Daily Telegraph. But despite a neat tracklist of strong, and some spiky new songs, so far, Allen's live comeback feels flat.
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