“I’M CRYIN’ CUZ I LOVE YOU”.
That’s how Lizzo introduces her fierce new album and her passionate cry is followed by all the drama of a big band. Her powerful roar boasts the tenacity of soul legends, only Lizzo likes to rap too. Moments after going full-on Aretha, she cusses and makes reference to her more promiscuous days, making a grandiose declaration of love in the most millennial way possible.
“Like A Girl” is an empowering feminist ballad. We’ve all heard the expression “like a girl” only it is usually used to insult and is prefaced by words like “you fight” or “you cry”. Lizzo has reclaimed the expression and celebrates doing what you want “like a girl.” Her lyrics list all the things she can do on her own and in the rap verse she spouts what is quite possibly our new favorite lyric of all time: “The only exes that I care about are in my f***ing chromosomes.” There have been plenty of feminist anthems this year but Lizzo just took female strength to the next level.
Our only worry at this point is that the album may have peaked to early but each track just gets better and better. Lizzo retains all that old soul history and charm only she keeps the music surprisingly fresh. There is no pretense here, just an enormously talented woman embracing all parts of her identity and sharing powerful music that makes us proud to take up the space we do.
“Jerome” has a special kind of soul that is perhaps reminiscent of Amy Winehouse. “Tempo”, on the other hand, is the complete other end of the spectrum and is the Missy Elliot collaboration we didn’t know we needed. Lizzo sings: “Slow songs, they for skinny hoes… I’m a thick bitch, I need tempo.” It’s a real banger.
The album closer “Lingerie” is a whole new kind of sexy. Lizzo’s voice is suddenly softer and more vulnerable while taking full ownership of her sexuality. It’s subtle, stripped back kind of arousing and it’s the stark opposite of the hollering banger that opened the album.
The sheer vocal and stylistic range on the album already raises Cuz I Love You up with the best albums of the year. The way that she so powerfully embraces all aspects of her identity and champions femininity in a wide scope of ways raises the album to something even more special.