Album Reviews

Album Review: Lizzo – Cuz I Love You (Nice Life/Atlantic)

Sam Smith

You may not have yet heard of Lizzo but believe me, you are about to be hearing a lot of her, that is if her new album is anything to go by, an album that is an exercise in booming soul and infectious pop. Hailing from Houston, Texas, Lizzo is a big personality with a big voice and despite already having released two studio albums, it is her latest offering Cuz I Love You that is getting people talking and turning heads at the same time.

Spurred on by the success of one of the pop songs of the year so far in Juice, a track that harks back to the halcyon days of late-70s disco pop, with Cuz I Love You, Lizzo relies on a very smart formula for the age of streaming and shortened attention spans by delivering catchy as hell, memorable soul-pop. These are songs that hit you instantly and to be frank have you singing along before you even know it.

The album kicks off with the anthemic soul of the title track Cuz I Love You. This is classic soul and sees Lizzo channelling the likes of Brittany Howard as much as the soul greats of the 60s and 70s. Things don’t slow down on track two with Like A Girl, a bubbly pop banger that shows that despite being anchored in classic soul and R&B stylistically Lizzo can translate that into a contemporary setting as well.

Then comes the big single Juice, a track that would make Chaka Khan proud and for all intense and purposes is the heart of this record, before the poppy Soulmate completes what is a truly energetic and great start to the album.

Entering the middle of the record the listener finally gets a breather as Lizzo retreats back to the classic soul of the opener with the slow-burning jam Jerome, however, this breather is short lived as Crybaby springs into action giving off massive 80s vibes with its synth-driven opening and electric guitar riffage.

Given the power of her voice and the strength of the songs on display, you would not think Lizzo needs any guests to add anything extra to this album. However, Gucci Mane and Missy Elliott do make an appearance, the latter perhaps rather appropriately as you could argue strongly that Lizzo is in many ways the heir to Elliott’s throne. Their duet on Tempo is a definite highlight and I would not be disappointed if they collaborate again in the future.

The album then winds down with more catchy soul in the form of Better in Colour, the anthemic Heaven Help Me, before closing with another downtempo number in Lingerie.

All in all, Lizzo absolutely knocked it out of the park with this record in what is one of the most exciting and well-delivered pop records of the year so far. Her voice is truly amazing across the eleven tracks with her delivery proving almost effortless at times as she moved between booming pop and soothing soul with relative ease.

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Given the quality of songs on here and the fact this is her third album, hopefully this will be enough for her to break through to a wider audience as she has the voice, she has the songwriting formula, and she has the personality that is very endearing in an age of pop that at times can appear distant and stale.

 

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Released: 19 Apr 2019

Written By: Sam Smith When he is not writing for Radio 13 Sam works in media and journalism at 95bFM radio and the University of Auckland. He also has is own personal music blog Nowhere Bros.

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