It’s hard to believe that SPECIAL is Lizzo‘s fourth Album, but the visionary Entertainer has been knocking on the door of superstardom for some time now. After a meteoric rise in 2019, Lizzo quietly has been reminding us she really hasn’t gotten anywhere. A role in “Hustlers“. A Guest Judge spot on “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. An Emmy Award-nominated Reality TV Series “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls”, and she threw-out a teaser of a single with Cardi B with “Rumors” while she was getting things right on this highly-anticipated follow-up to 2019’s Grammy-winning CUZ I LOVE YOU – her major label debut with Warner Music.
I wholeheartedly am Team Lizzo. Seeing her front-row at Danforth Music Hall and buying the Meet & Greet package is a splurge in life I still to this day do not regret. Definitely one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. I soaked it all in as she emanated a message of self-love and positivity to the packed house, leaving us wanting more.
It is extremely tough to follow-up on a big splash like CUZ I LOVE YOU. For one, the success of hit singles “Truth Hurts” and “Good as Hell” were accidental. The former became a hit two years after it was released, just as Lizzo was pushing singles off the 2019 Disc. “Good as Hell” was recorded in 2016 above that and certainly wasn’t looking like it would ever be a hit. But it did! This is some Kate Bush-level Voodoo.
Nonetheless, the world would fall in love with Lizzo. Does she disappoint on latest Disc, SPECIAL? In my honest opinion, Lizzo NEVERdisappoints and I’m extremely partial. If you want an impartial Review, you can just leave now.
Lizzo matches that hyper-caffeinated energy she brought us on her last Disc and continues to say something about inclusion, self-love and even Cancel Culture. She pulls-out all the stops here and it doesn’t get any bigger in Music than having Producers like Ricky Reed, Benny Blanco, Mark Ronson and THE MAX MARTIN showing you a vote of confidence and they all make contributions here.
ABOUT DAMN TIME
It was an instant connection for us with single “About Damn Time” and the world agrees, not only becoming a hit in streams and on airwaves, peaking at #2 on the U.S. and Canadian Billboard Hot 100, but also virally on TikTok as fans took to their phones to replicate her crafty choreo seen in its Music Video. The Track celebrating the world’s return to what we know as normal, is so intricate – its groove undeniable and when we learned it took 30+ studio sessions to complete, we weren’t surprised, actually. The detail is astonishing and Lizzo‘s delivery is flawless. Artists have won Grammys for far less.
This is the Album’s titular track for a reason as she gives us her most authentic self, starting-off by calling-out how the Internet tried cancelling her a couple times now, and how that made her feel. But this isn’t only about her. She’s telling herself and the world to remember to love themselves despite all the noise and scrutiny we face in our daily lives. This recipe worked for us the last time around and still works for us. A Max Martin jam.
I LOVE YOU BITCH
This is a highly-melodic, piano-driven reminder again to love yourself, especially after never thinking you could do it. We can already hear the arena echoing back their love when she performs this on-tour this Fall.
This nod to Thriller-era Michael Jackson isn’t as overt or comical as its title suggests, but it is begging for us to get on the dancefloor. It’s masks-off at this Ball!
2 BE LOVED
With Lizzo now finding love in real life, she’s at her most vulnerable here – afraid and embarrassed to fall in love after having been disappointed by those Jeromes of the world. This Track proves that we can’t get sick of Hall & Oates’ “Maniac“, which continues to be the blueprint rhythmically to a new generation of dancefloor-ready anthems. Looking at you, Dua Lipa. And if that weren’t enough, we hear those nods to another Hall & Oates hit, “Making My Dreams” here and maybe a dash of Whitney Houston‘s “How Will I Know?“. Another Max Martin Banger.
So much unapologetic fun! Keeping things festive and fun still even later into the Disc, continuing the theme of celebration going.
We first heard this Slow Jam on Lizzo‘s Prime Video Reality Series “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” , where the Contestants had to do a sensual dance to it on an outdoor stage and we’ve been obsessed since. She gets intimate, taking it down a notch and it is very much this Album’s “Lingerie“, as she walks us through embracing her own body. “I’m a big girl, can you take it?”, she asks. Of course we can! Bring it!
This is the Album’s Finale, sampling that titular labelmate’s signature track “Yellow“. Just gorgeous, lush, ending things off with an element of sophistication and understatedness after some boisterous fun over the Disc’s 35-minute runtime.
Warner Music Canada release Lizzo‘s SPECIAL in stores today. Stream/download it here.