In Lily Allen’s new single Sheezus, she gives a deliberate shout out to a few of the most formidable divas in pop royalty. The chorus chimes with a rhapsodic and lyrical name-dropping that at first seems as if the song is innocently paying homage to pop’s leading ladies. However, after offering the lyrics a closer listen, one might have to assume that impending hit has more of a competitive edge.
Allen pays her lyrical homage to contemporaries such as Beyoncé, Lorde, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna specifically, with a few other references peppered throughout the tune. She seems to play the fence a little bit, vacillating between being coy with her counterparts and also expressing solidarity. At one significant point in the song, she kicks in the observation that of course they all get their periods. “Periods. We all get periods.” It seems as if it is a way of saying, perhaps, we are all not so different.
Then the tone of the message gets a bit more sinister, and Allen’s well-played innocence flips itself on its head. The sneezy-sounding term seems at first nonsensical and light, but when interpreted in the following catch phrase, “Second best will never cut it for the divas. Gimme that crown, b–tch. I wanna be Sheezus,” Allen sounds as of she is pumping herself up to fight for first place among the pop divas. Sounding very determined, the song could also be interpreted as a modest warning to her fellow competitors, even though embedded within a tribute.
While watching the new video and hearing the entertainer beg to be leader while morphing into a visage bearing pencil-drawn devil horns, a severe loss of the initially implied innocence and solidarity is strongly delivered. The space-agey blacklight start-stop animation sequence that plays throughout the video also offers the viewer a futuristic feel, as if Allen’s wish to be “Sheezus” will one day come true.
Furthermore, the play on words cannot be overlooked. “Sheezus” sure sounds a whole lot like two other recognizable names of self-proclaimed royalty–”Jesus,” “Yeezus,” and now “Sheezus.” Yeah, Allen, it is not too difficult to figure out where you are headed here…not that you were being covert.
Sheezus is the lead track off of the singer’s forthcoming album by the same name due out May 5 from Regal Recordings. It is the performer’s follow-up album to 2009’s It’s Not Me, It’s You. Greg Kurstin of the Bird and the Bee’s reprises his role as producer once again. The compilation will feature 11 tracks, three of which are the following previously-heard numbers: Hard Out Here, L8 CMMR, and Air Balloon.
So, Sheezus may not be in its entirety a “diss” song, but that is not to say it will not ruffle a few feathers, which may be the point after all. Allen seems as if she wants to start a war, even if it is a playful one. Perhaps she would be happy enough if she were to get a shout-out from one of the ladies she so generously tributed. Who will be the first to name Lily Allen “Diva Sheezus?”
By Stacy Feder