Cuz I Love You
The track, Cuz I Love You, is available via:
14th February, 2019
THE reason I have selected Lizzo...
and not gone for someone less-well-known is because, well, the requests I am getting are all very similar and there is not a lot to differentiate the artists. That might sound cruel but there is more variation and choice outside of the underground. I can pick a track I really want to go after and know there is a lot of new stuff to talk about. In the case of Lizzo, I want to talk about female artists who have spark and can be considered headline, leading acts; those that raise important issues and powerful messages through their songwriting; adding a sense of fun and vitality back into Pop music; whether newer acts like Lizzo can complete and equal the icons of the past – I will end with a little but about why Lizzo stands aside and how she is unique. For now, I wanted to chat about Lizzo because she is someone who always gives her all to the music! Look through her previous albums and you can hear someone who has come a long way but, right from the start, she was producing these bangers that got into the head and made the body pop. She is one of these artists who wants to have fun and show some sass but deliver a potent message at the same time. Lizzobangers arrived in 2013 and instantly set out her stall: a record packed with big songs that had confidence and her special D.N.A. I love that album and instantly bonded with it. I think we look out at the mainstream and assume artists there must be good and memorable because they have made it that far. What I find is that there is this division between those who are genuinely great and worthy and many who have an overly-commercial and tired sound – appealing because their audience do not really have the imagination to look elsewhere. It is necessary to look through those at the top of music and listen closely.
PHOTO CREDIT: @gaytimesmag
Lizzo is an artist who has been playing for a little while now but is growing and adding new elements to her sound. I think she is special when it comes to the fizzing and body-moving jams that have ounces of confidence and energy. There are not that many artists in Pop who have positivity in their bones and continue to stamp out these classics. The past few months has seen Lizzo cut these great gems that are instantly addictive and exciting. I think music needs more artists like Lizzo and we need to embrace this type of music. Listen to everything else out there and can one truly say there is anyone else like Lizzo around? Cuz I Love You is not as fiery as some of her other songs but it has so much working away and is a brilliant thing. I only discovered Lizzo a few years after her debut in 2013 and am glad I did. I wanted to highlight her today because, whilst she is popular and known, there are some who do not know her music. If you are unfamiliar with Lizzo and wonder whether she is worth exploration then I would say her main assets are the energy, the big hooks and the lyrics. She has a fantastic voice but her words stand out and truly shine. I wonder whether many consider Lizzo too new to be a festival headliner. She has been going a little bit now so I am not sure why festivals are not lining up. You want these artists who can get people moving and have some great songs in their locker. Lizzo fits the criteria and I can easily see her on a headline stage getting the crowds whipped up and singing along. Lizzo’s songs have that anthemic quality and will endure for many years to come. I think, maybe next year, we will see Lizzo headlining and it is about time really – as she already has proven herself and should be getting those bookings.
I think it is rare to see artists around that have genuine spark and physicality. So much modern Pop is quite muted and does not have the same spirit as it did back in the 1980s and 1990s. I mention this point a lot but I see no reason why Pop has sort of turned in on itself and gone a bit soft. It is still good but does not have the same attack as the classics. Lizzo is part of the new generation who knows how important it is to have movement and something fun in the music. I wanted to talk about Lizzo because of her energy and memorability but I love what she talks about and how she approaches things. In the press, she has chatted about body confidence and how proud she is of her curves. I feel there is a bit of hesitancy from some quarters to raise these kinds of issues but Lizzo is proud of her body and it is brought into her music. I do love how Lizzo speaks her mind and she is not afraid to be bold and controversial. She is a very real person and talks about sex and love in a fresh way. Songs like Juice are filled with great lines and expressions that you would not get from any other artist. Lizzo has brought body issues and confidence into her music and discussed gender inequality; she has spoken about big themes and is not afraid to tackle them. We need more artists who are actually using music and the press as a way of getting big messages out there and doing something different. Think about most of the popular artists around and do they honestly have something about them that stands aside?! Maybe they have a slight edge but Lizzo seems to be in her own field. One discovers this very fine and accomplished artist but the woman behind the songs is remarkably open, funny and interesting. This all leads to a complete package and, going back to my headliner point...why isn’t Lizzo on top of festival bills?!
I am not saying others neglect important topics when they write songs but Lizzo, regarding body and sex appeal, is shining a light and, as a larger woman, is inspiring many others. There is this notion and ideal that female artists need to be super-slim to be seen as popular, attractive and commercial. If they were to stray from this mould then that could see them outcast and they are not exactly what you want to see on the cover of magazines. I feel this mindset has eased through the years but there is still, on magazines and in videos, this desired type and look that has always been in music. Maybe female artists will always be marketed based on their looks but I’d like to think artists such as Lizzo are making changes and helping to turn the tide. I think so many people are afraid of getting into music because they feel they are not the right size or look. Most mainstream female artists are of a certain size and shape and I think many have been denied an access to the top because they do not conform. Lizzo is someone who is never going to change – and why should she! – and, instead, is delivering these big songs that show all her curves and truths. In the media, Lizzo is keen to break misconceptions and tackle those who think women should look a certain way. She has spoken about sexism and L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. concerns and, at various moments, addressed sex and love in a very fresh and personal way. There are few out there who have as much personality and appeal as Lizzo. I wanted to focus on her because of how inspiring she is and how that will continue. I will move to another subject now but think about all the big artists around and can you say there is anyone as standout and grand as Lizzo? It is hard to think of anyone and, for that reason, she deserves all the attention and acclaim in the world.
I have already mentioned it before but I think Pop music has somewhat got gloomy and a bit ordinary. That is not common to everyone but most of the scene has changed radically through the decades. There are some great Pop artists who have proper swagger and big tunes but most modern stuff is quite personal, unmemorable and safe. I do wonder why artists are not really spreading their wings and why there has to be this sound. By that, can you really compare the best Pop music of the 1960s-1990s and feel this is still being done today? It is not hard to produce great music that has energy and catchiness but most are choosing not to play this way. I hope there is a shift and we get to see Pop music return to its roots. At the very least, I think other artists should look at Lizzo and see the affect she is having. Her songs get into the blood and they are so much fun! That is what we need right now and, more and more, artists are choosing to be too personal and lack that killer punch. It might just be a phase but I think the mainstream has been in a bit of a state for the past decade at the very least. We do not have the same quality as we did in the 2000s and it does concern me. I will raise this point later this weekend but I have not lost hope Pop will bring some of the fun back! Lizzo is definitely having a great time in music and not willing to change who she is to fit in. I do feel there is a lot of pressure for artists to sound the same or not wander too far from the garden path. It is quite sad this is the case but I feel there will be an evolution. Lizzo is a remarkable case of an artist bringing something fresh to the table and providing incredible album after the next.
I will end this piece by talking about her upcoming album but I love how consistent Lizzo is and what she has already produced. There is more to Lizzo than fun and energy but that is a big part of what makes her stand aside. I do love how much energy and force there is in when you listen to her music but Lizzo has a way with words that gets into the brain. There are few tropes and clichés when you hear a Lizzo song! Whether it is the wit and humour or the way Lizzo can fuse unique phrases and create something very alluring...nobody else is doing what Lizzo is. I feel she is someone who will provoke change and shows what can be when you tear up the rules. It makes me wonder, more and more, why there is not more volume in Pop right now. I mean, there are some fantastic tracks and artists but I think so much more could be done. It all comes back to fun and bringing a sense of movement into the mainstream. Maybe it is me being all hung up on the past but I am excited by Lizzo and think she has a real light. Everything she produces sounds amazing and it cannot be long before she is headlining Glastonbury and playing the biggest festivals around. There is a real opportunity right now for musicians to help make a change and inspire the masses. I am seeing more and more acts talk about deeper issues such as political divide and mental-health – this is very positive and encouraging to see. I think this has been long overdue but I feel you can discuss something weighty and potent and still have fun whilst doing so. Lizzo does and I do think this can be reciprocated by her peers. Can this fine American artist, in years to come, reach the giddy heights of ‘icon’ status?!
PHOTO CREDIT: Linda Nylind for The Guardian
I have talked about the fading icons and why there are not many in modern music right now. By this term, I mean those who reinvent themselves and endure for decades; they have these changing looks and go through changes. I think Lizzo’s career is too young for me to make those sort of bold predictions but I do feel she has the ammunition to become an icon. If you look at how she has consistently produced great songs that stick in the head and stood you to attention. Lizzo has always been real and true to herself and never compromised what makes her her. She is an inspiring role model and someone who has the same sort of integrity, sass and confidence as Madonna. Maybe Lizzo’s stylistic reinventions are not that big and expressive but she ticks so many boxes. I look around music now and there are some artists who might be around and compelling listeners in decades to come. It is harder to stand out now than it was back then and so much music is disposal and samey. I think, more and more, the days of the icon are numbered and we will never see someone like Prince or Michael Jackson again. That is not to say we will not see someone remain for years and make a big impact on the next generation. Perhaps the terminology has changed and the definition (of an idol) is narrower. To me, Lizzo has all the hallmarks of a future-legend and she has already proven herself. Everything seems to be falling into place and it is only a matter of time before Lizzo is considered a modern-day icon. I am not sure whether that is a contradiction in terms but I think Lizzo stands away from everyone else and is a very promising artist. Maybe I should move onto her latest track, Cuz I Love You, as it sort of brings all of my points together and shows what I am talking about.
There is something almost classic about Lizzo’s latest track. The last thing I – and many other people – heard from her was Juice. That has a very distinct sound and sort of captures you with its colour, catchy chorus and swagger. Listen to Cuz I Love You and the start has Lizzo singing unaccompanied. She is belting out this rather romantic and powerful lyric and then, without much notice, we get this very impassioned and bold compositional explosion. There are horns, percussion and strings that crash like waves and take you by surprise. I love the way the song starts somewhat calm and uncluttered and allows Lizzo to announce the song. It is a great way to kick it off and the heroine talks about being in love. Maybe it has not happened before and, as she attests, it is quite a feeling. I spoke about Lizzo’s songs being very different and it is hard to compare this one with any others. So many artists repeat what they do but here is something that is unlike any other Lizzo song! The words, like all of her songs, have a unique aspect and paint a picture. Here, as the biggest blast calms and she is accompanied by a skipping piano, Lizzo talks about, once, visiting the liquor store and drinking. Maybe there were reckless and wild days and she was in a different place. She seems to have found love now but, before, life was a bit different and she was rolling with a different crowd. This is Lizzo still having a blast and fun but showing a more sensitive and revealing side. The song almost sounds like a classical Soul or Jazz offering. Produced by X Ambassadors, there is this nice shift between the huge and spirited composition – that acts like a heartbeat and provides drama – and Lizzo’s voice. It is not often Lizzo gets to have her voice standout out front and being so emotional.
What one discovers is how strong her voice is. This has always been the case but this latest offering allows her to go in a different direction. There is so much power and emotion when she talks about crying over her love and being affected. Maybe the lyrics are not as distinct as some of her other songs but, when you are talking about the strength of relationships and a new passion, there is a sense of limitation I guess. Cuz I Love You switches between the Jazz-like belt and the faster-paced and more characterful expressions. Lizzo talks about standing in the rain and getting her hair all wet; maybe having to wait for the man and doing all of this. I do love how Lizzo cuts and strikes some moments and can turn into this hugely soulful singer the next. It seems like the heroine has found this new lease but has had to make some changes in her life. It seems like this romance has been blossoming but not always smooth. Lizzo talks about this person being hidden away and on the down-low but now, after some realisation, she wants to put them on a plane and take them to her shows. I am not sure whether there was some friction before or whether her sweetheart was a bit troublesome. In any case, things have got to this stage and Lizzo is realising she has feelings. She did not know she cared so much and, when the chorus comes back, she lets all the feelings out. I do love, as I keep saying, how the song switches and the potency of the chorus. You try and compare it to another song – the chorus does have that classic sound – and fall in love with the vocals. In many Lizzo songs, she is singing quite fast-paced and you never get to hear her singing in a more direct and impassioned manner.
The addition of the horns and percussion gives plenty of stamp and rouse and perfectly backs her vocal. The heroine has struggled to make a connection before and not found it easy to be in love. There are moments when Lizzo hits really high notes and extends her range all over the place! When belting out and really letting her voice open, you get hints of Aretha Franklin and some of the most powerful singers ever. Cuz I Love You is such a hugely powerful record and you wonder whether it could extend for another minute or so. One gets hooked on that switch between the fast and edgier verses and this very different chorus. One will listen to the song the first time and it is quite hard to take everything in and get to grips. You are amazed and blown away so go back and listen a few more times. There are a few writers on this track – including Maroon 5’s Adam Levine – but it is Lizzo’s amazing and towering central performance that makes the song so masterful. It is impossible to listen to the song and not be moved and amazed. I believe the title cut is the opening track for Cuz I Love You – although don’t quote me on that! – and, if that is true, it will be one of the most impressive lead-off tracks in recent memory! The fact Lizzo, between this song and Juice, has shown so much variety and quality means very few will be able to refute her brilliance. Ensure you dive into he brilliant waters of Cuz I Love You and discover this wonderful song. You will need a few listens for the track to truly sink in and work its magic because, as I found, the first listen is so intense and you are not prepared for what comes! Lizzo has shown she is one of the most flexible, impressive and original artists around and this is why I think she will be around for many decades more.
Cuz I Love You is out on 19th April and is the third studio album from Lizzo. It is her first album in four years and the singles released so far are amazing. There is a bit of speculation regarding the tracks that will appear on the album and what it will sound like. Juice gave us a taste of what we might expect and now, with the title offering in the world, there is another piece of the puzzle. I am excited to see what is coming and what Cuz I Love You will sound like. There are various writers and producers who work with Lizzo but I do not think that gets in the way of her music and personality. You can be a great artist and leader and have others working on the music. Lizzo has always worked this way and, at the end of the day, it is her voice that stands out. She is the most important and dynamic part of the mix and the person who makes the music come alive! Maybe it is too reductive and simplistic calling Lizzo’s music ‘Pop’. It has so many different aspects to it and is very different to everything else around. I do love how Lizzo keeps her social media updated and she is always communication with fans and letting us into her world. It gives a great impression of who she is and what makes her tick. There are a lot of big artists who are quite reserved and insular and, whilst that is cool, you never get a real sense of who they are. Maybe music is meant to provide the real commentary but Lizzo knows, in this day and age, you need to be more active on social media and that fan relationship is very important. I will end things pretty soon but I have been looking around music and asking whether people performing today will be remembered in decades to come.
It is very hard to tell but you can think of a few who definitely will be. I think Lizzo will continue to produce albums and she will headline festivals before long. Like powerful female artists such as Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Aretha Franklin – that might sound random but they have some shared aspects – Lizzo has a unique sound and personality that goes into everything she does; a real confidence and need to be true in interviews; an urge to change music and make a difference in the world. With Lizzo, you have someone who is a bit cheeky and fun and that adds to the sense of wonder and infectiousness. It has been great breaking from my unusual routine and writing about a bigger artist. I do miss that side of things but the main reason I wanted to do this was to bring Lizzo to more people. She has big fan numbers but so many of her followers are female. I do not think her music is reserved to women and, in fact, it is much more eclectic, broad and open than anything out there. When all is said and done, Lizzo wants to bring fun to the party and she likes to shake it! Keep an ear out when it comes to tour dates and see if she is heading your way. I know there will be promotion around the release of her upcoming album and a chance to catch her very soon. Cuz I Love You is a wonderful track and brings new elements into Lizzo’s music. She is always growing and getting more confident as a performer. I think this will continue and, before too long, she will be one of the biggest artists on the planet. It is the way Lizzo brings all her energy and life to every song that makes them stick in the brain and remain in the heart. If you have not experienced the wonder and vitality of Lizzo then make sure you rectify this. Cuz I Love You is a brilliant track to start with and lays out all of Lizzo’s assets and qualities. It has been great reviewing the song and, when the album comes out in April, I will be...
PHOTO CREDIT: Atlantic Records
REVIEWING that too!
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