REVIEW: Lizzo showcases vocal prowess on debut album

Photo from Atlantic Records

From blaring horns to belting voices and big bodies, Lizzo comes out swinging in her new album, “Cuz I Love You.

“I’m crying cuz I love you,” Lizzo yells to begin the titular track. Drums and horns barrel throughout, sustaining the song’s high energy the entire time. The song showcases Lizzo’s vocal control, comfortably sitting in her falsettos and holding notes for longer than you’d expect.

Lizzo’s signature positivity, confidence and empowerment builds throughout the album from “Soulmate” to “Juice.” She’s reclaiming her body, personality, relationships and self. Especially in “Juice,” she owns the party — even dressing up as an actual disco ball for her performance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in February.

Lizzo doesn’t just want to make herself feel better, however. On the tracks “Better in Color” and “Like a Girl” she makes space for everyone. Produced by Oak Felder (who produced Demi Lovato’s self-love party-anthem “Sorry Not Sorry”), “Like a Girl” turns the once insulting phrase into empowerment. “If you fight like a girl …do your thing run the whole damn world,” Lizzo encourages listeners.

Lizzo manages to create a galaxy of emotions in her short, 30 minute album. She comes to terms with her ex, “Jerome” and even finds a new “Soulmate” in herself. From regret to passion, Lizzo’s feelings are not only matched, but emphasized by the production and genre. On “Tempo (feat. Missy Elliot),” she raps confidently, owning music that’s easier for her to dance to. On “Better in Color,” she includes hints of gospel to reinforce the spirituality that comes with self love.

In Lizzo’s world everybody is invited to the party, even some pretty recognizable names. With features from Missy Elliot (“Tempo”) and Gucci Mane (“Exactly How I Feel”), Lizzo manages to share the stage while keeping the spotlight on her. Missy Elliot’s verse on “Tempo” is memorable and fun, and Gucci Mane’s time on the album is a braggadocious lesson on owning your success.

Born Melissa Jefferson, Lizzo has released EPs and singles for years, opening for HAIM on their Sister, Sister, Sister Tour over the summer of 2018. While her older tunes like “Good as Hell” and “Boys” have graced many a movie end-credits scene, “Cuz I Love You” proves Lizzo is more than just popular bops.

The range of an artist like Lizzo does not enter the industry often. While she can let loose, Lizzo knows when to tighten up. Classically trained in flute, Lizzo brings her trusty partner, Sasha Flute (an actual flute with an Instagram page), out for a feature on “Heaven Help Me.”

Lizzo’s depth, perspective and wisdom is proven through her gratitude for the littlest things. She serves as a reminder that self-love isn’t easy to reach but is worth the effort.

Currently at the No. 1 on the iTunes charts, Lizzo sits comfortably next to Beyoncé, whose Homecoming album was bumped to number two after Lizzo’s release. Not bad for a debut album.