Her astonishing vocals and relatable lyrics remain a joy as the force-of-nature singer-songwriter picks up where Cuz I Love You left off
Three of the weirder years have passed since Lizzo’s breakthrough album Cuz I Love You. Still, the former Melissa Jefferson seems blithely unaffected: Special sounds like it could’ve been released the week after. As ever, the US singer-songwriter’s good-egg energy suffuses the set, and her accessible, disco-tinged pop is taken to another level by her wonderful way with words. Lizzo takes a rapper’s pen to pop lyrics, with authenticity and immediacy prized over mindless cliche. It’s been tried before, but rarely with this sort of panache. On top of that, her voice is eighth-wonder territory – fabulously powerful yet infinitely flexible, an appealing blend of confidence and yearning.
Musically, Special’s a bit of a retread. Lead single About Damn Time, with its Saturday-night, last-song-before-we-leave-the-house vibe, bounces on a similar podium to 2019’s Juice, and the title track boasts imperious orchestration, just as it did on Cuz I Love You. But it works. More than anything, Lizzo’s easy relatability is reminiscent of Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s 30-year-old classic Summertime and its narcotic final verse, jumbled memories cohering into vivid brilliance. Lizzo manages something similar in almost every song.
Continue reading… July 24, 2022 at 01:53PM Damien Morris