Captivating audiences with her refreshing self-assurance and divine flute playing skills, Lizzo is truly a force to be reckoned with and is now getting her rightful shine.
Her first major label release, “Cuz I Love You,” dropped on April 19, and the artist did not hold anything back. Coming off of 2016’s EP “Coconut Oil” and the worldwide success of the feel-good anthem “Good As Hell,” Lizzo is keeping the same momentum as she further explores her own vulnerability while never losing sight of the lightheartedness she’s most well known for. Working with producers X Ambassadors and Oak, the 11 tracks effortlessly embody the sense of freedom she showcases through her uninhibited persona and electrifying live shows.
The guttural, fiery vocals of the opening title track serve as evidence that Lizzo can simply do it all. Known mostly for her rapping, this track could seem like a surprise to some not familiar with all of her capabilities as an artist. “Cuz I Love You” intermixes the familiarity of her energy-filled cadence and the new territory depicted in her soulful voice being the forefront. The song undoubtedly accomplishes the goal that any artist possesses regarding the first thing they hear on an album –- a true statement piece that amps up listeners.
Pertaining to the same theme of huge vocal moments, “Cry Baby” is the track for all power ballad and love song devotees. The Minneapolis sound of funk mixed with elements of synth-pop isn’t a coincidence. After moving to the city in 2011, Lizzo took her career to new levels and even collaborated with Minneapolis legend Prince in 2014. It is very evident that this aspect of her career still lives on through her artistry.
“Like a Girl” takes the old negative connotation of the phrase and flips it into an empowerment anthem that might possibly have a future in being a big scale hit, much like “Good As Hell.” With lyrics honoring Serena Williams –– the epitome of girl power –– the dance-pop anthem personifies everything Lizzo stands for.
As an advocate for body inclusivity and celebrating individuality, it is no secret that these topics drive her music. The first single off this record, “Juice,” became a breakout hit for Lizzo. The bouncy R&B feel could be mistaken for a Bruno Mars song, but the musicality of these types of tracks heavily refer to the funky and fierce production stylings of legendary hitmakers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. She reminds listeners of her infectious confidence with the lyrics, “No, I’m not a snack at all/Look, baby, I’m the whole damn meal.”
Throughout her ever-growing career, Lizzo has referred to the legendary Missy Elliot as one of her biggest inspirations. With the help of her hero, “Tempo” serves as the ultimate body acceptance club banger. The lyric. “I’ve been waiting for this one” at the beginning most likely alludes to not only the greatness of this song but a dream being realized. The energetic spirit shared between the two superstars is something that would get just about anybody to dance.
Another collaborator on this album is her beloved flute, named Sasha Flute. Sasha Flute has been a huge part in all of Lizzo’s performances and even has her own Instagram account. Her beautiful solo at the end of “Heaven Help Me” adds a fun element to an already intricate body of work. There aren’t many popular artists today who can add instruments, let alone the flute, on their resume.
More than anything, this album shows Lizzo’s versatility when it comes to drawing back to old school influences, as well as experimenting with new sounds in the current musical landscape. “Cuz I Love You” is vulnerable and soulful, yet celebratory and colorful all at the same time. This album is an indicator of Lizzo’s current star power, as well as her glowing future. She is here to stay.
Rylee Jackson can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.