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‘Cuz I Love You’ is a big, bombastic celebration of everything Lizzo has to offer
It’s taken Lizzo longer than expected to release her latest album, but the time she invested in making “Cuz I Love You” is already paying big dividends for the Detroit-born artist whose music has found favour across multiple platforms, from rap, hip-hop and R&B to rock and pop.
“Juice”, the record’s blockbuster first single, has some industry people suggesting it could make Lizzo a household name.
They may well be right.
“Cuz I Love You” is a big, bombastic celebration of everything Lizzo has to offer, and it is hard not to be impressed by just how much she brings to the table.
The new record reaffirms her strengths as both a songwriter capable of transitioning seamlessly between genres and as a performer with major league pipes who’s as comfortable with a slow, soulful ballad as she is rapping hard and fast or belting a big R&B tune over the moon, which she does several times here.
Lizzo, who’s also a classically trained flautist, nails it with tracks like “Juice”, “Soulmate”, “Exactly How I Feel” and “Tempo”, which features special guest Missy Elliott, whom Lizzo has frequently been compared to. The groove here is so thick you could cut it with a chainsaw.
I would like to be able to drop her into the lineup for Sly & The Family Stone when they were in their prime. Yes, she’s that good.
- In addition to making her own records, Lizzo has worked with a lot of other artists, from Prince, Clean Bandit and Bastille to SleaterKinney, Har Mar Superstar and Florence & The Machine.
- Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Jefferson, is currently on a tour that will keep her on the road right through to the end of July, with dates across North America and Europe. She starts up again in September and goes for another two months.
- More than two dozen of those shows have sold out.
The music is killer but so, too, are the lyrics, which have been described as forward thinking and self-empowering, full of feel-good sentiments. The language in places is explicit, but it’s part of the package, part of who she is.
“Cuz I Love You”, which was recorded throughout 2018, garnered Lizzo a lot of attention and good reviews last month at Coachella where her two high-energy shows drew big numbers.
She’s also been getting much sought after air time with Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, the Today Show, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, and Trevor Noah. She’s gotten positive ink in Billboard, Time, Entertainment Weekly and several other major publications. A writer for Nylon went so far as to proclaim Lizzo his new religion.
I don’t know if I’d go that far but I haven’t been able to pull my head out of this record for two days.
The cover of “Cuz I Love You”, which is her full-length debut for
Nice Life/Atlantic Records features a relatively tasteful nude shot of the plus-sized singer who has a very positive attitude about her body type that others who share her body type have been inspired by.
Doug Gallant is a freelance writer and well-known connoisseur of a wide variety of music. His On Track column will appear in The Guardian every second Saturday. To comment on what he has to say or to offer suggestions for future reviews, email him at email@example.com.