Lily Allen was quite the troublemaker. It's easy to forget for newer audiences, but when Allen debuted over a decade ago via a run of mixtapes, Alright, Still was an irresistible collection of everyday pop songs, woes of credit over warm, vibrant production. It's Not Me, It's You got perhaps a bit self-serious with its dive into future pop, but still offered jams aplenty.

It's not as vibrant from there, with an embattled star taking something of a leave from music. Getting married and having two children, her priorities clearly changed, and when she finally did return in 2014 with Sheezus, the antics no longer became her. It took plenty of swings, but left an artful pop star with her first real clunker. Would Allen figure it out, or forever remain trying to imitate her younger self?

No Shame is a resounding answer to the former. As sessions began to feel wrong to Allen herself, she took some time to consider it: what was worth her energy at 33? With the husband leaving her, Allen was left with the clearest of inspirations. This album is motherhood – single motherhood.

The once flippant voice has changed, replaced with concern, protectiveness, even regret. To be sure, Lily Allen is as in your face as ever when she needs to be, but it comes from a different place. Lead single 'Trigger Bang'? Her just wanting to stay out of the drama. Even guest star Giggs is relatively respectful of the atmosphere. The album also features Burna Boy and Lady Chann, Allen showing her finger still on the pulse of the London scene.

If Sheezus didn't seem to capture the feelings of married life and motherhood, Allen's latest absolutely sears from divorce and the failed relationship that caused it. Just check 'Everything to Feel Something'. Yep, it's as desperate as it sounds. To be music-writer-level reductive of No Shame, it functions as something of an anti-Lemonade. The narrative has little interest in blame, with plenty being ascribed to both her partner and Allen herself.

Our heroine here has been betrayed (and done some betraying, it seems), to be sure, and goes through those woes, but her husband never really reenters the picture, Allen instead finding her love lies with her children. 'Higher' plays like a dismissal of her former lover, with some of the most emotive songwriting of Allen's career, her dazed, glacial pace oozing hesitation and regret in every note. It's far from weak, with the singer going cold: “You crossed that line ... / You'll be fine, stop crying / ... It's your life, and said I'd never / Let you ruin mine”

Naturally, Lily Allen is still Lily Allen, finding time for the playful 'My One', wagging her tongue on a quest for the perfect lover with gems such as, “Baby, I fucked half the boys in Paris.” The production on No Shame is also largely familiar for Allen, relying on the requisite reggae-pop and cold ballads of albums past, though Mark Ronson is kept to a perhaps surprising one appearance. The somewhat dated soundscape presents the album one relative weakness, but truthfully, sticking to her guns serves Allen and No Shame just fine, with the clear spotlight allowed for her vocals. These are the sort of pop as soul-baring words whose impact are shattered in text, but startling and even healing heard. Pain and strength melded down into salve for all.

No Shame spends a lot of time fighting with itself. If Lily Allen seemed at a loss on Sheezus, she's never been more inspired than while lost. Whereas her misfire of an intended grand return found her struggling to rediscover her younger voice, forcing goofy wit she hadn't really felt satisfied with since Alright, Still, Lily Allen no longer cares to recapture anything at all. Wherever she goes next, she's moving forward.