Pop culture is heading to the 80s and Lizzo is driving to take us there.
Just days after receiving an Emmy nomination for her Amazon Prime show “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” the singer and feel-good performer released her fourth studio album, “Special,” on Friday. The album comes three years after 2019’s Grammy-winning “Cuz I Love You.”
Like a roller coaster, the 35-minute “Special” takes listeners to the top of a hill, with high-energy selections including its debut single “About Damn Time,” before dropping them on the thoughtful love ballad “Coldplay”, which completes the project. The highs and lows of “Special” are backed by synthesized melodies, harpsichord-like pings and many other instruments but, surprisingly, not much flute.
Lizzo said she wrote “175 to 200 songs” in an April interview with Sirius XM’s The Heat, and only 12 made the album. But Lizzo hasn’t completely faded from the spotlight, appearing with Cardi B’s “Rumors” in August and making social media posts of her “twerking and making smoothies,” which she expounds in the song. opening of the album, “The Sign”. ”
The 34-year-old musician described “Special” as a “classic album with no skips” during her iHeartRadio Album Listening Party hours before the project hit streaming platforms. Here are some future Lizzo classics that are sure to make a lasting impression.
“About Fucking Time”
Lizzo’s earworm single “About Damn Time” still shines among the lineup of unreleased songs. Heavy bass guitar hits open the song and carry its confident groove, which has taken over TikTok and other social media platforms.
The single’s video of Lizzo as a disco diva, with glitter and big hair, was a foreshadowing of what “Special” holds: a throwback to the carefree dance era of decades past.
Hot off the heels of “About Damn Time,” Lizzo lines up her second single “Grrrls,” which puts listeners at ease with some familiar songs before tackling some of the new hits.
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‘2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)’
The fourth track of “Special” sounds both distant and familiar with a synthesized organ laying the groundwork for what sounds like a song to back up the end credits of an 80s movie.
“2 Be Loved” paints a picture of the anxiety that comes with allowing yourself to fall in love again after recovering from a failed relationship, “Am I ready (you’ll figure it out)
To be loved, to be loved? (Yeah).”
The song is partially produced by Swedish producer Max Martin, the same hands behind The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights,” and has similar ’80s drums and strums with a tonal change culminating after Lizzo realizes that she was, in fact, ready for love.
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Lizzo considers Beyoncé her “North Star,” and the two artists seem to be on the same club schedule with their new music. “Everybody’s Gay,” which channels Donna Summer and Diana Ross and interpolates Rick James’ “Give it to Me Baby,” is Lizzo’s episode to get up, dance, and sweat the night away to disco music filled with fast-paced drums. and energetic horns.
The encouraging chorus orders people to reveal themselves by removing their “masks”, which could also be a double meaning for masks worn during the coronavirus pandemic, which has kept many people locked in their homes.
“We can take off our mask / We can all play and talk / I can hardly wait,” she chants.
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Lizzo often bares her body and soul publicly, with scantily clad social media posts and physically nude album covers for “Cuz I Love You,” as well as her unfiltered thoughts and opinions on body positivity and response. to public criticism.
“Naked” is a sultry track on “Special” that embraces the beauty of baring it all without conforming to society’s bodily expectations. Even the record feels raw and simple, opening with Al Green-adjacent guitar plucks and the static that plays when you place a needle on a vinyl record.
“Beauty is a gift, but damn all who pursue it / I wish we could live without bodily expectation.”
Lizzo’s final song on “Special” is a true love song, though three previous tracks have love in the title. Sampling Coldplay’s “Yellow,” hence the title, Lizzo sings in awe of her love interest as she recounts their romantic trip to Tulum, Mexico, how they dance without music, and reveals some of the intimate details of the relationship.
The singer revealed her significant other on Instagram in June, mixing in some photos of her and her red carpet date for her Emmy-nominated show “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.”
She also wore a ring on her gloved hand with no explanation for the rock, but showed a photo of her and the mystery man holding hands.
“And I just know (I just know) / That in this life (Ah) / My love is you.”