The title track of Lily Allen's third album, the name is a tongue-in-cheek take on Kanye West's Yeezus record. Allen's assistant originally floated the title "Sheezus" as a joke and she ran with it. The singer told The Sun: "I can't really take full credit for naming the album Sheezus because my friend Amy said it is a joke. And I said, 'Actually, I like it.' Then I wrote this song around the album title."
Sheezus is Allen's first body of work since her musical hiatus in 2009 after the release of her second album It's Not Me, It's You. "I wanted the album to be called Sheezus before I had a song with that title," she told Rolling Stone. "The word inspired the song, and 'divas' rhymes with 'Sheezus.' I was really working backwards. Then I had to figure out a message. It starts off with me being quite scared about coming back. I'm really a sensitive person, and I take that on."
The song pokes fun at fellow pop stars Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Lorde, Katy Perry and Rihanna with Allen claiming she will steal the pop crown from them and become "Sheezus." Talking to Shortlist magazine, the singer opened up about name dropping her peers. "It's not supposed to be provocative and it's not attacking anyone, although it does namecheck a few people," Allen said. "It's about how girls are pitted against each other, unlike men…There seems to be a moral undertone when women are concerned that doesn't happen with men, and that's what that song is about. Stop this now [laughs]."
Allen explained to MTV News that the idea behind the track was to call attention to how the media creates false tension between people in the music industry. "The first verse is about me re-entering the music scene, and how kind of scary that is," she explained. "And the choruses talk about people who are this in the scene, and [the idea] that women tend to be played against one another. The way I read it, there's a queen and everyone else is in her slipstream. So I guess what it's trying to say is that we can all be 'Sheezus'."
Allen told Rolling Stone she would have liked to have released "Sheezus" as a lead single, but it was deemed not suffice up-tempo. "It's also got the word 'period' in it, which is really offensive to people, even though half the world has to deal with it once a month," she added. "It's groundbreaking! I'm proud of that. It's f---ng awesome."
"I think that 'period' is going to be my 'surfboard' with Beyoncé. People will wear sweatshirts to my concerts that are just going to say 'period.'"
So how does Kanye West feel about the cheeky take on his album title? "My friend is the brother of Phoebe Vilo, who designs for (French luxury label) Celine. Kanye and Kim Kardashian were at the Celine show in Paris and my friend was sitting next to Kanye," Allen told The Sun. "He told him about my album being called Sheezus and he knew about it. Kanye said, 'But Kim's got a jacket with Yeezus written on the back so she's gonna have to fight her for it.'"