Lily Allen Sheezus album and Sziget Festival concert review

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Lily Allen, the 29-year-old English pop singer and songwriter released her third album this year, titled Sheezus. Also in this year, after five years, she came back to Sziget to throw an amazing concert.

She is quite divisive and infamous because of her extravagant style and also due to her sarcastic and ironic social criticism represented in her songs. Sheezus is no exception. It contains 13 songs and a short interlude.

Her lyrics are always inspired by her own life and experiences, both personal and professional. The general meaning of this album, which comes through the lyrics, is that she is now a grown woman with a husband and children, and the time she has spent away from the spotlight and the top of the pop music world has changed her. The pop music sphere has also changed a lot, she comments on this sarcastically, and she cannot find her place anymore in it; however, she does not seem to mind because she has a wonderful husband whom she loves dearly and she also shares their most intimate moments with the listeners.

She seems to have matured a lot during these years, which is probably due to her starting a family. However, luckily, she has not lost her typical “lilyallenness”. Under this I mean that she can still shock us with her songs. Particularly Sheezus and Hard Out Here are the ones that stirred up the audience. In the former, she mentions her period, for example, which is not a usual topic to be discussed in a pop song. She also heavily criticises other contemporary female singers, e.g. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga or Lorde, and sings about the changes that have occurred in pop music during her hiatus. Probably Hard Out Here is the strongest song on this album, however; it holds the heaviest sarcastic criticism against society. It discusses and condemns misogyny, body image pressures and the general double standard used against women in the male chauvinistic music industry.

Her concert at the Sziget Festival on 14th August had been very much anticipated by her Hungarian and international fans. Not even the bad weather could stop the hundreds or maybe thousands of people from going to the show. After a slight delay, she started with LDN and then went on with her most famous songs, not only from Sheezus but also from her previous albums, Alright, Still and It’s Not Me, It’s You. Her extravagant and bold style was evident from her clothes: she as wearing a simple pair of jeans and very high-heeled shoes but with a purple leather bra and a transparent bolero jacket. This outfit complemented her songs and lyrics perfectly. Her most well-known song, Fuck You received the biggest applause from the audience. Everyone knew the lyrics to the chorus of this song, obviously, and she seemed to have enjoyed the huge ovation she got for her songs. Of course, it is very difficult to judge from afar whether the performer is enjoying the concert as much as the audience is, and this was the case here, too. Furthermore, her style, voice and facial expressions are such that it is quite hard to decide whether she is joking or being serious. But this is one of the main reasons why millions love her – her sarcasm. The audience, which filled the enormous place in front of the big stage, had a wonderful time that was stimulated even more when huge and colourful air balloons were thrown in on them which they could pass on and on to others in the audience. Unfortunately this did not happen during Air Balloon, which would have been the best timing ever, since she did not sing that song. All in all, her concert was just as brilliant as she is and hopefully she will grace us with her presence more often.

Her albums, Alright, Still (2006, Regal Recordings), It’s Not Me, It’s You (2009, Regal Recordings and Parlophone Records) and Sheezus (2014, Regal Recordings and Parlophone Records) are available in music stores and web shops.

By Sára Csanádi

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