“Yes, I love myself, but how do I love myself in a world that doesn’t love me?” Lizzo asked me and hundreds of other people in the crowd of her SXSW set last month. I got chills before internally asking myself the same thing.
Well, on Friday she gave us an answer in the form of an album full of bangers. Her major-label debut, “Cuz I Love You” is a middle finger to the insecure people who cannot bare to see others express much-needed self-love.
As someone who has had the chance to hear Lizzo express her version of self-love in person, I can confirm her message radiates with nearly every lyric on this album. She’s big, femme and unashamed.
This is probably most evident on tracks such as “Like a Girl” and “Soulmate,” the latter being the standout of the album.
Lizzo spreads her gospel of “I know how to love me/I know that I’m always gonna hold me down/Yeah, I’m my own soulmate” on an anthem perfect for anyone who needs reminding they are a “bad b—h.”
That same self-empowerment takes on different sentiments with almost every song. When she’s not telling a f—boy to go home on “Jerome,” Lizzo is feeling her oats on the sex-positive serenade of “Lingerie,” with not a single mention of the fact that she isn’t the mold of mainstream sex appeal standards. Lizzo knows she doesn’t need to be. She’s re-writing the narrative.
And then there is the inescapable, ’80s-influenced “Juice.”
As the lead single off the album, “Juice” has received critical acclaim and serves as the best possible introduction to those unfamiliar with Lizzo’s sound. For those who have come to know Lizzo for her genre-bending, feel-good tracks like the infectious “Good as Hell” from her Coconut Oil EP, you’ll find that same energy on this album with “Juice.”
With “Cuz I Love You,” Lizzo is at her best yet. But just one listen through the album and it is clear she does not need us to tell her that.
Featured image: Lizzo performs at Stubb’s in Austin for South by Southwest on March 14, 2019. Alec Spicer