Ever since the breakthrough success of “Truth Hurts,” multifaceted musician Lizzo has been a force to be reckoned with. The Detroit native is known for her sleeper hits and delivering feel-good anthems rich with passion. Her fourth studio album is aptly titled Special. It not only amplifies her growth as an artist, but also as a person learning to navigate her newfound status in the public eye. Listeners will get insight into the experiences that nurtured her confidence, and uplifts those who may need to be reminded of their own self-worth.
If I were to describe Lizzo’s artistry in one word, it would be ‘kind.’ To share music that makes people smile is truly a generous gift, especially during a time when joy appears scarce. It’s reflective of her character and the positivity that she wants to broadcast to the world. Everything feels intentional.
“I Love You Bitch” isn’t just about gushing over someone. Its playfulness entices people with unexpected humor: “Gimme your hoodie when I’m cold / Bless your heart, it’s too small.” Even in the more fiery tracks like ”Break Up Twice,” she remains lighthearted while granting someone a second chance: “Who gon’ put up with your Gemini shit like I do?”
Lizzo is quite the genre-bender! Her previous project Cuz I Love You was a colorful mix of rock, hip hop, and pop. But Special ups the ante with a strong eighties feel. Viral single, “About Damn Time” features a memorable flute melody alongside a catchy disco groove. Pure, audacious fun is abundant on this album, and my personal favorite is “Everybody’s Gay.” Her voice is gritty, yet alluring over funky percussion and electric guitar riffs. The track is about freedom of expression and satisfying the urge to connect with others: “We can take our mask off / We can all ball and parlay.” Her music makes you want to enjoy life.
The title track, “Special” is actually when I knew this album deserved a ten out of ten. From charming violins and ethereal harmonies, to blunt verses and a monumental chorus to match. She belts, “In case nobody told you today, you’re special.” It addresses those who attempt to tear her down for daring to love herself. Even her vulnerability is coated in confidence, just listen to “If You Love Me” and “Naked.”
Throughout the album she pays homage to some hit throwbacks. With her own added flair, of course! Chords from Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in “Break Up Twice” are so smooth alongside her raspy vocals and soulful delivery. In “Coldplay,” listeners can visualize the tiny Tulum house and lovers dancing with the night sky as their backdrop. She samples Chris Martin’s vocals from the band’s classic “Yellow,” a beautiful choice to symbolize the comfort of a relationship built to last. The lyrics are personal and replicate that of a musical embrace.
Lizzo really hammers home the idea that in spite of what others may think, we’re all worthy of the freedom that comes from being ourselves. Special is her greatest project so far, and her future as an artist is sure to be bright!