I know it seems entirely too early to be making statements like this, but Lizzo might’ve just released the best album of 2019. Bar any major players that may or may not drop a project in the coming year, the rapper/singer has created a cohesive and exciting body of work that challenges previous notions of what a popstar — er, bopstar — should look and/or sound like. With an arsenal of gritty, driving guitars, inhumanly boisterous beats, and powerhouse vocals to match, Cuz I Love You is simultaneously a statement piece with some of the most fun music released this decade. Anyone that doubted Lizzo could deliver would be remiss to hear just how spectacularly she exceeded their expectations.
The title track opens the record, a giant vocal moment that showcases most of the rapper/singer’s talents; the only thing missing is her trademark flute. Establishing Lizzo’s general framework, the next few songs (“Like a Girl,” “Juice,” “Soulmate”) rollout in the same structure of rapped verse and sung chorus, with the added addition of self-empowerment at their lyrical centers. “Jerome” interrupts this momentum with a power ballad about a fuckboy that Lizzo has unfortunately fallen for, but this is merely a brief intermission from the unrelenting bops of Cuz I Love You.
A record can feel a bit pummeling with so many uptempo tracks, but the rapper/singer never seems to falter in her excitement. The Missy Elliot-featuring “Tempo” is a quieter affair in comparison to its neighboring songs, but it’s no less twerk-inducing; “Better in Color” would sound right at home in a revamped production of The Wiz; and thoughts on what it means to be “dickmatized” consume the penultimate “Heaven Help Me.” As the album races to its all-too-soon conclusion, Lizzo slows things down on “Lingerie,” perhaps the sexiest song of her career (thus far). Gone are the histrionics, favoring sensual coos before throwing in a few key changes towards the end. It — much like the rest of Cuz I Love You — is a flex for the sake of flexing, proving once and for all that Lizzo is everything we could need or want from America’s next bopstar.
Standout tracks: “Like a Girl,” “Juice,” “Soulmate,” “Tempo”