Reviews

Lizzo “Special” Album Review

Special

Lizzo

  • Genre: Pop
  • Release Date: 2022-07-15
  • Explicitness: explicit
  • Country: USA
  • Track Count: 13
  • ℗ 2022 Nice Life Recording Company and Atlantic Recording Corporation

Special is equally enchanted as Lizzo’s debut album. The twelve-track album (in which, astonishingly, nobody is featured) is chock-full of original tunes, empowering lyrics, powerful instrumentals, and a ton of love. To put it another way, Lizzo attacks you with a radiance that feels like soul food for every part of your body. Expressive and upbeat albums like Special deserve to be in heavy rotation during these trying times. Lizzo’s fourth album feels like a party in your honour from the moment you press play.

Album Cover Art

Lizzo &Quot;Special&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, May 29, 2024

On the album artwork is a headshot of Lizzo in black and white. She appears to have her gaze fixed on something while donning a shimmering mask overhead, only it doesn’t cover her face. She seems geared up for something Special as she strikes the pose.

Tracks and Features

Six of the 12 songs here are less than three minutes long, even the ballads don’t hang around, and almost every line is so quotable it could go on a T-shirt. She still jokes about her weight: “I know you see me coming ’cause I’m thick,” she sings over the skipping breakbeats of the assertive opener, “The Sign.”

On “Gurrrls,” which boasts a brief, two-minute, bouncing Cuz-I-Love-You-style beat with a repetitive “woah” throughout the chorus, sisterhood empowerment is in complete form. Later on in “Break Up Twice,” Lizzo skillfully incorporates a micro-sample of Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Top (That Thing)” She only uses the chorus line “Boy you know better/Watch out” and performs it in a ballad-like R&B style rather than the original’s melodic rap quality. It briefly grabs your attention before she moves on to telling herself not to go back to boring guys.

The beat of “About Damn Time” is recalled in “2 Be Loved (Am I Ready),” which has a lively, pop-like, disco-influenced rhythm. The chorus is boisterous, with a choir calling out and responding, “You gon’ figure it out.” “That’s what I’m speaking of,” he said. The choir supports her and helps her feel more confident. It must be influenced, at least partly, by Myke Wright, Lizzo’s partner, with whom she recently became public after months of hints.

Even when Lizzo performs sillier things, we can ignore them and groove to what many other singers might just look embarrassing doing because we know it’s Lizzo. Consider “Birthday Girl,” which has horns at the start. She mentions in the song that a wicked bitch deserves a birthday party every year.

She shouts throughout the hook, “Is it your birthday girl?/’Cause you looking like a present.” A string of recordings seem like voicemail and feature ladies listing off their birthdays, and astrological signs arrive during the bridge. Yes, it’s a little tacky, but Lizzo manages to make it positively joyful.

Despite having a great time, Lizzo remembers to layer tunes with calming vocals. A variety of horns, percussion, and guitars are used to create the easygoing pop vibe of “If You Love Me.” Her voice transitions smoothly from light to profound tones. Her voice peaks and aids in expressing her love for the memories of a lover on “Naked,” where she sings passionately over a light acoustic arrangement that resembles “Lingerie,” and again on “Coldplay,” which samples that band’s famous track “Yellow.” She sings, “My love is you (and everything you do).”

Tracks

NO Title Time
1 The Sign 2:45
2 About Damn Time 3:11
3 Grrrls 2:01
4 2 Be Loved (Am I Ready) 3:07
5 I Love You Bitch 2:28
6 Special 2:54
7 Break Up Twice 2:56
8 Everybody’s Gay 3:35
9 Naked 3:00
10 Birthday Girl 3:07
11 If You Love Me 3:11
12 Coldplay 2:55
13 A Very Special Message From Lizzo 1:39

Album Theme

Her mission with “Special” and her personal and professional life is to inspire others to share all forms of love. Yes, for friends and family, but most importantly for self-love. And the record is indeed drenched with affection. Lizzo made a collection of fun and overwhelming encouraging songs; honestly, it’s tough to find fault with it.

Production Credits

A couple of recognized music creators produced the album, including Mike Dean, Mark Ronson, Terrace Martin, Jon Bellion, Max Martin and Benny Blanco, to name but a few.

Stream

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