Lizzo Is A Goddess Of Self-Love And Positivity On The Unapologetic, Ebullient ‘Cuz I Love You’

04.22.19 3 months ago

Nice Life/Atlantic

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Lizzo opens her full-length major label debut Cuz I Love You with an honest-to-god acapella yowl. Iiiiiii’m cryin / Cuz I looooove youuuuu!” she screams, like she’s daring you to turn the volume up and match her enthusiasm. It’d be a bold and slightly off-putting intro coming from any other artist, but Lizzo knows her strength, and her strength is in screaming how she feels.

Singer-songwriter-rapper Melissa Jefferson’s third solo LP, Cuz I Love You, is an exercise in joy. It’s impossible to listen to this album without letting a smile bloom on your face. It makes me want to be a better person. It makes me look in the mirror with a gentler eye, seeing the qualities that might be devalued by Eurocentric, misogynistic, ableist society as a source of stunning beauty. It makes me want to hug my friends and dance and scream how much I love them at the top of my lungs. It might make you want to do those things, too.

There are two types of people — Lizzo fans and people who haven’t heard her yet. With the dizzying success of her pre-released Cuz I Love You singles, thankfully, there aren’t many in that second camp anymore. She’s on top of the world, performing flute solos on Ellen, talking body positivity with Jameela Jamil, all over the radio, and blowing up Twitter. To listen to her once is to fall in love with her. Months before Cuz I Love You was even released, Jefferson sold out a tour playing the biggest venues of her career so far. Her popularity is compounding so fast it’s hard to keep up. Mid-size venues aren’t big enough to hold her ambition or powerhouse voice. Even arenas seem too quotidian — she belongs in the sky, hands clapping like thunder and positive affirmations cracking the sky like lightning.

Cuz I Love You is an immediate classic. Rather than follow current trends in pop and R&B, Lizzo reaches back to retro ’80s pop, ’60s doo-wop, and ’70s soul for inspiration. Her unapologetic penchant for throwback jams has drawn comparisons to labelmate Bruno Mars, but Lizzo amps up the playful elements of her vintage pastiche, making her music fresh and all her own even as it’s indebted to the classics.

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