Album Title: Cuz I Love You
Label: Atlantic Records
Release Date: April 19, 2019
Save your expectations for someone else’s album because they’ll be wasted on Lizzo’s latest project. The singer’s major label debut is a concoction of attitude, honesty, and fearlessness. As one of Qrewcial’s seven acts redefining R&B, she’s certainly living up to the what’s-she-going-to-do-next hype.
Often times, with music this feel good and upbeat, artists hide behind repetitive lyrics, catchy hooks, or dance-worthy beats but Lizzo takes the time to deliver something you can groove to and think about. Right off the shower-time superstar high you get from title track “Cuz I Love You”, she hits you with girl-power anthem “Like a Girl”. In the first verse alone she imagines herself as president, lists her feats of independence, and drops some science terms on you before going on to sing about the endless amount of ways women can rule the world.
But that’s just the first punch in the combo. Sandwiching single and ultimate I’m-that-bitch declaration, “Juice”, is Lizzo’s own TED talk about self-love, “Soulmate”, in which she pours her heart out to herself. It’s an important type of love song. “They used to say to get a man, you had to know how to look / They used to say to keep a man, you had to know how to cook / But I’m solo in Soho, sippin’ Soju in Malibu / It’s a me, myself kinda attitude” she chants in a commentary about loving yourself before loving anybody else.
The back end of “Cuz I Love You” is where you get to know Lizzo more personally, as Melissa Viviane Jefferson. The musical tributes to her mentor Prince live here. “Who this call for, babe? / Don’t pretend like you don’t know / A lot of girls have time for this shit / Honestly, I don’t” open “Crybaby”.
In her explanation to Apple Music about what inspired the song, she mentions the legend by name. “This is one of the most musical moments on a very musical album” she says, “And it’s got that Minneapolis sound. Plus, it’s almost a power ballad, which I love. The lyrics are a direct anecdote from my life: I was sitting in a car with a guy—in a little red Corvette from the ’80s, and no, it wasn’t Prince—and I was crying.”
Whether the song was about him specifically or not, Lizzo delivers an unapologetically sexy sound on “Crybaby” and album closer “Lingerie” that the late crooner would’ve been proud of.
Additionally, the second half is where back to back features “Tempo” and “Exactly How I Feel” reside. The first, a Missy Elliot assist, is the club banger of the group and in true Lizzo fashion is a plead to the DJ for something someone with a little junk in the trunk can dance too. The Gucci Mane featured “Exactly How I Feel'” is the Nene Leakes I-said-what-I-said GIF of feel-good songs. “Love me or hate me / Ooh, I ain’t changing /And I don’t give a fuck, no” might just be the simplest way for Lizzo to say she’s going to embrace all of her emotions, good or bad, as they come and not apologize for it.
Overall Lizzo managed to pull from different realms of the musical landscape to create an album that speaks power to young girls, labeled full-figured women sexy, and gave the end all be all of pep talks to the unsure. Bookend ballads “Cuz I Love You” and “Lingerie” show off the singer’s talent and musicality while Aretha Franklin-inspired “Heaven Help Me” and “Better In Color” express her creativity and diversity.
I mean, I never knew I’d enjoy singing along to “If you think you got me dickmatized I need to get you out of my life” but evidently I do and I wouldn’t have known that if it were not for her. Always the one to excite, Lizzo is presenting her best work yet in a way only she can—with killer confidence that can’t be cracked.