Review: Lizzo's "Cuz I Love You"
by Madalyn Whitaker
Lizzo’s third studio album “Cuz I Love You” is everything one should expect from Lizzo. It’s in your face, it’s raw, it’s unapologetic, and it is absolutely beautiful. Lizzo exposes herself, not only on the cover, but throughout this entire album. She showcases her voice in a new way with each song. She unleashes powerful riffs to shake the speaker on your night stand, and chills her listeners with gentle coos to caress a lusting heart. Lizzo’s album is for the people of her generation, defining the term ‘millenial’ by dusting nostalgic late 90s/early 2000s R&B beats and emphasizing what modern love and culture is all about through her powerfully contemporary lyrics.
Lizzo has found a space in the hip hop community alongside Rico Nasty, cupcakKe, Princess Nokia, and Azealia Banks as one of the biggest names in indie hip hop. A video of her beatboxing on the flute at the University of Iowa’s homecoming concert put her into mainstream media’s eye. After seeing this clip, you can’t help but look up the rest of her work. She puts on a performance that grabs the viewer and fills them with an energy that is contagious.
Lizzo starts the album off by showcasing her wildly powerful vocals in this beautiful, soulful R&B opener. She holds nothing back in the titular song, “Cuz I Love You.” Lizzo shows her emotional vulnerability and vocal range right off the bat. Nothing is harder than opening yourself up to tell someone you love them, much less starting off an entire album with such a raw confession. This emotional honesty continues throughout the rest of the album.
Lizzo has been completely open about her body image issues (fueled by mainstream media) during her musical career. “Juice” slips into the realm of the 80s with a bouncy synthesizer beat, but Lizzo brings us back to 2019 with empowering lyrics. “Mirror, mirror on the wall/Don't say it, ’cause I know I'm cute.” Lizzo’s poise and bold attitude is contagious. It brings the feeling of confidence a girl has at an age before media could influence how she viewed herself, dancing in front of her mirror singing along to her favorite songs. There’s something freeing about this song. Hearing a woman sing about how she knows she’s beautiful and strong is so refreshing. Lizzo singing this confidence out into the world can empower an army of women, men, and everyone in between.
Lizzo finds herself dipping her toe into different genres in this album. “Cry Baby” pulls the listener into a soulful rock track, starting out with grungy guitar riffs and a laid back drum beat showing Lizzo’s range in taste. This bluesy track gives her listener a peek into her upbringing in Houston, known for a large blues scene. “Heaven Help Me” is a straight pop tune starting off with a poppy piano solo and going into major beats, and a bright melody. “Tempo (feat. Missy Elliott)” is a classic rap song one similar to something that Lizzo would have grown up on when her passion for free styling started.
Lizzo ends “Cuz I Love You” with a silky, beautiful ballad. “Lingerie” is sexy, classy, everything you love about your favorite set of lingerie. Her voice is like a black satin nightgown against fresh shaved skin. Everything about this song is incredibly sensual and self indulgent. Lizzo leaves her listener wanting to make love to themselves by the time the last note of this song rings through your headphones. She gives her audience an intimate confession about what it’s like to be in love with herself and her body.
Lizzo’s album opens up a whole new space in the hip hop genre. She mixes in her own personal taste, from pop to blues to rap, and creates a melting pot of this fresh hip hop sound. Lizzo’s music is exciting, empowering, and invigorating in the most modern and refreshing way possible.