Body positivity hasn’t always been the norm, but with Cuz I Love You, Texan singer, rapper and songwriter Lizzo makes music that preaches her own self-love while extending the same message to her listeners.
Before becoming the confident and magnetic powerhouse she is now, Lizzo was a flute-playing band nerd influenced by church gospel music. Now, with her April 19 release, Lizzo takes her experiences and her past to create an album that unapologetically demonstrates her abilities as an artist. Her third studio album is saturated with energy that’s the result of years of growth.
Cuz I Love You is the culmination of years worth of bubbling confidence and potent empowerment set by her 2016 EP Coconut Oil. Her current work is everything set by its predecessor but with a voice that’s not only more refined but also more direct.
There’s never a dull moment in Cuz I Love You. Numerous tracks are accompanied by instrumentals that are both vibrant and passionate. These instrumentals don’t diminish Lizzo’s prowess as a vocalist, but instead accentuate it. The intro track, which shares the album name, displays Lizzo’s vocals while showcasing an orchestral sound. She balances lyrics, such as “Never been in love before/What the f--- are f---ing feelings, yo” with blaring horns to create a piercing flow that remains consistent throughout the entire work.
Lizzo’s album balances both high energy and intimacy. Tracks such as “Tempo” and “Exactly How I Feel,” which feature Missy Elliot and Gucci Mane, respectively are dancey and dynamic. But in the closing track “Lingerie,” Lizzo displays a facet of her personality that’s bare and exposed. The instrumentals are toned down and sensual, her vocals are intimate and the message is sultry. With lyrics like, “So I lounge around in my lingerie/Ooh, you better come my way” Lizzo doesn’t seek to conceal her femininity and sexuality. She acknowledges both aspects without hesitation. However, while toned down tracks like “Lingerie” are refreshing in Cuz I Love You, they feel a little too rare.
The foundation of Cuz I Love You is loving one’s self. Within her work, Lizzo creates tracks about her body that are simply positive and this message reverberates heavily within Cuz I Love You. She displays a universally basic mantra that self-love is individualized, and it’s okay to go against the norm of hating one’s body. This message shines brightly in the album’s lead single “Juice.” With a sound that’s both retro and funky, Lizzo creates a fun, addictive track filled with lyrics that ooze confidence. She boldly states, “No, I’m not a snack at all/Look, baby, I’m the whole damn meal (Ohh, baby).” With these lines, Lizzo reveals herself to her listeners as a woman who’s proud of who she is and isn’t afraid to show it.
In a society that engenders self-hatred, Lizzo reminds the world that this practice doesn’t have to be true. Cuz I Love You is a response to those who expect Lizzo to minimize her own existence because of her body, sexuality and femininity. With her 11 tracks, she creates a work filled with love and a lesson of self-appreciation anyone can learn.
Cuz I Love You