For the past few years, it has become more and more obvious that Lizzo has what it takes to become a star. Not only has she proven with songs like “Boys,” “Good As Hell,” and “Truth Hurts” that she has a knack for writing tracks just begging to blow up, but she brings the kind of larger-than-life personality. Both in and out of her music she has made it clear what makes an artist like Cardi B an absolute phenomenon.
With the release of the track “Juice”, it seemed like are the pieces were about to come together. On this disco rap throwback, Lizzo comes in with enough energy to light up an entire city. On top of that, she brings a masterfully crafted instrumental that brings a sharp, modern twist to an often overlooked era of hip hop.
“Juice” hinted at a promising 2019 for Lizzo, but it was everything that followed that made that promise a reality. Not only was her first record on a major label announced, but the 2nd and 3rd singles for said record showed a much more versatile, fully developed performer, as well as a better array of beats. All signs were pointing toward Cuz I Love You being one of the best pop album of the year. For the most part, the signs were right.
The Queen of Self-Love
One thing that separates Lizzo from many of her contemporaries is her mastery of the self-love banger. Many of her largest hits emit a sense of unabashed positivity that is lethally contagious. “Juice” showcased this better than any of her previous songs, though many of the deeper cuts on try to give it a run for its money. “Soulmate” even takes the concept of self-love quite literally as a love song written to herself. More times than not, Lizzo is able to deliver this message in a natural, clever way. The themes of girl power on “Like A Girl” are implemented flawlessly with sharp line after sharp line, and the passion she exudes on “Better In Color” makes the message of free love truly pop all on its own.
Energy at 11
Passionate really is the best descriptor for Cuz I Love You. There truly isn’t a better way for this record to be kicked off than with Lizzo belting out “I’m crying ‘cuz I love you”, which is followed by the drums and horns of the track busting in with the weight of a freight train. It’s this substantial amount of energy that is carried throughout the majority of the album. The bangers of these records, “Like A Girl” and “Heaven Help Me” come with loud, less-than-subtle hooks and blaring production. Meanwhile, the ballads “Jerome” and “Cuz I Love You” see Lizzo indulging in some captivating vocal feats; the kind that the R&B and soul divas Lizzo is inspired by are known for.
These types of tracks making up most of the record was not exactly a bad thing. It surely made for an exhilarating listening experience. However, even if the album clocks in at only 33 minutes long, listening to a record that is constantly at an 11/10 when it comes to energy can become exhausting. That’s what makes the existence of the closer, “Lingerie” a blessing. It’s an extremely welcome change of pace that has Lizzo showing off a more sultry, subtle side of her voice on a track that doesn’t need to blast through the speakers to get across the sexiness of the track. Plus, the track’s gradual build-up makes Lizzo’s vocal intensity hit so much harder. It’s a shame that “Lingerie” is the only song that takes this direction.
When all of that energy isn’t stacked upon each other, it’s hard to find a major disappointment in the tracklist. “Like A Girl” is the best feminist anthem we’ve gotten in years, “Crybaby” brings the dirty slow jam à la Prince into the modern era, and her collabs with Missy Elliott and Gucci Mane are some of the most infectious songs any of the aforementioned artists have been a part of in years. So for people who just pick out the highlights and plop them into playlists, it’s hard to go wrong with Cuz I Love You.
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Featured Image: Consequence Of Sound
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