Lizzo‘s brand has always been bold and brassy, with the singer espousing the gospel of self-love, self-acceptance and healing from the stage to the mountaintop. After suffering a rare misstep of a single with “Rumors,” the singer has bounced back fabulously with her recent singles like “About Damn Time,” culminating with the drop of her latest album Special.
The singer’s message is a very modern one, but Special looks to the sounds of yesteryear to get her point across. That’s why you’ll hear everything from ’80s funk, R&B and new wave to ’90s hip-hop and alternative (plus splashes of disco and a prominent Coldplay sample) throughout the 12-track set.
The singer uses the album to hit on a few choice topics, with the whole thing feeling like an inclusive party to which everyone’s invited. And though everybody gets a moment to feel good and have a little fun (see cuts like “Everybody’s Gay,” “Grrrls” and “Birthday Girl”), we get the sense that this album is just as much for her as it is for her fans. There are lyrical sprinkles here and there that reveal the pain of the intense public scrutiny she faces and the isolation that comes with fame. She balances those vulnerable moments with much-needed confidence boosts and mantras that remind her and us that it’s still possible to be 100 percent that b***h.
If there’s a drawback, it’s that this party could’ve gone much longer. The album clocks in at a mere 35 minutes and, while each track is quality, there’s room here for a few grooves to go just a bit longer or the inclusion of a feisty track like “Tempo” or “Phone” to take this love fest to the next level.
Still, the Lizzo charm is in full effect on Special and it’s working quite well. Enough so that you’ll probably be running this one back as soon as the last note plays.