Lizzo is at the wheel, and she’s taking us back to the ’80s. The feel-good singer and performer, who was nominated for an Emmy for her Amazon Prime series “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” released her fourth studio album, “Special,” on Friday. Three years have passed since “Cuz I Love You,” which won a Grammy in 2019.
As though on a rollercoaster, “Special’s” first single, “About Damn Time,” leads listeners to a high point before descending into the contemplative love ballad “Coldplay,” which closes the album. There’s a lot of synthesized melody, harpsichord pings, and other instruments in “Special,” but there are not a lot of flutes.
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In an interview with Sirius XM’s The Heat in April, Lizzo claimed she wrote “175 to 200 tracks,” but only 12 made it onto the album. Despite her absence from the public eye, Lizzo made an appearance with Cardi B on “Rumors” in August and posted videos of herself “twerking and preparing smoothies” on social media, as she explains in the album’s opening track, “The Sign.”
In her fourth studio album, “Special,” Lizzo has included both upbeat and contemplative songs.
On the night before “Special” was made available for streaming, she called it a “no skips classic record” at her iHeartRadio album listening party. Here are a few Lizzo songs that are likely to go down in history.
About Damn Time
About Damn Time The song’s self-assured beat, which has swept over TikTok and other social media platforms, is introduced by heavy bass guitar plucks.
An indication of what “Special” will bring is Lizzo’s costume change into a disco queen, replete with sequins and big hair, as shown in the video for the track.
Lizzo follows up “About Damn Time” with “Grrrls,” which gives fans a taste of what’s to come before diving into the new material.
In response to accusations that she used an ableist slur, Lizzo alters the lyrics of her song and declares, “This is the outcome of me listening”
At the iHeartRadio Album Release Party with Lizzo at the iHeartRadio Theater LA in Burbank, California, Lizzo chats with host JoJo Wright about her new album.
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‘2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)’
With a synthesized organ laying the groundwork for what sounds like a song to accompany the end credits of an 80’s film, the fourth track of “Special” sounds both distant and familiar.
“‘Am I ready (You gon’ figure it out)?’ sings “2 Be Loved,” a song about the fear of falling in love again after a broken relationship. To Be loved, to be loved? (Yeah)
The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” producer, Max Martin, is part of the production team behind Lizzo’s “Blinding Lights,” which contains a climactic key change as Lizzo realizes she’s ready for love.
With her new song, Lizzo seems to be following Beyoncé’s lead, and the two singers appear to be on a similar “club-urging” path. Lizzo’s “Everybody’s Gay,” which evokes Donna Summer and Diana Ross and interpolates Rick James’ “Give it to Me Baby,” is a disco anthem replete with fast-paced rhythms and powerful horns.
One could read into this a reference to the protective masks worn by many individuals during the coronavirus pandemic, which kept them all cooped up in their houses. When the masks come off, “we can all ball and parlay / I can’t wait,” she yells.
As a self-described “naked” artist, Lizzo frequently uploads sexy images of herself on social media, as well as her unvarnished views and beliefs about body positivity and how she responds to public criticism.
On “Special,” the seductive song “Naked” celebrates the joy of exposing one’s entire body without worrying about whether or not it meets societal standards of beauty. Even the opening guitar plucks and the static that plays when you put a needle on a vinyl record is raw and straightforward.
When it comes to the pursuit of beauty, “beauty is a blessing, but it curses everyone who chases it.”
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Despite three songs with the word “love” in their titles, Lizzo’s “Special” ends with a heartfelt love ballad. Lizzo speaks adoringly about her love interest while crooning about their romantic trip to Tulum, Mexico, how they dance without music, and other private details about their relationship while sampling Coldplay’s “Yellow,” hence the title.
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In June, the singer posted a couple of photos of herself and her date on the red carpet for her Emmy-nominated show “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” on Instagram, revealing her boyfriend.
With no explanation for the rock on her gloved hand, she also showed a picture of her and the mystery man holding hands. In this life (Ah), my love is you, and I just know it (I just know it).”
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