Thursday 5 September 2019

Review of 'Cuz I Love You' by Lizzo

Lizzo’s new pop album is more infectious than malaria.

…infectious, but also a lot more fun than malaria I hasten to add. Not that I’ve had malaria myself – I’ve always just assumed sufferers aren’t having a whale of time convulsing and vomiting everywhere.

But anyway, let’s not talk about convulsing and vomiting; let’s talk about this new Lizzo album. The US rapper/singer kicks the record off by belting her lungs out over orchestral soul. Her flamboyant voice immediately reminded me of Jocelyn Brown. Except I can’t remember Jocelyn Brown ever singing a line like ‘Once upon a time, I was a ho/ but I don’t wanna ho no more’.

Lizzo’s sexually liberal lyrics are just one of the things that make her so excitingly unique. Her voice is another thing that sets her apart – as much as I hate showy-X-Factor-performance style singing, Lizzo has the humour and modern catchy inflections to pull it off, plus it’s quite refreshing to hear a female pop artist in 2019 that isn’t relying on breathy whispering.

She’s also got incredible body confidence. She makes being a larger lady genuinely sexy, and her positivity is as infectious as her hooks. Yes, Meghan Trainor has been promoting plus-size positivity for years, but Meghan Trainor always came across as insufferably annoying to me. I think it’s because Lizzo largely refrains from skinny-shaming and misandry, plus she’s a lot funnier.

Lizzo isn’t the only thing that makes Cuz I Love You a fantastic album. The production she’s singing/rapping over is dynamic, hi-octane and vibrant. There are urban soul ballads in the style of Amy Winehouse such as ‘Jerome’, Prince-esque funk jams such as ‘Juice’ and even a filthy trap banger ‘Tempo’. Lizzo cycles through these genres, whilst staying distinctively her – every track displays the best of her personality and voice.

There really isn’t a single track on this album that I disliked. ‘Soulmate’ gets dangerously close to being a Fifth-Harmony-style commercial pop song, but is layered and catchy enough that I still enjoyed it. Is this AOTY material? It’s definitely a serious contender.