In this era of body shaming, Instagram models and crippling mental health – the presence of an album like Cuz I Love You are always welcome. Lizzo focuses on self-love in all her work, and her third studio album is no exception; it is full of self-acceptance and shows the listener that the most important person to love in this world is yourself (and that you don’t need no man).
‘Like A Girl’ flips any negative misogynistic connotations of the phrase “like a girl” on its head. She looks out for herself – “the only exes I care about are in my fucking chromosomes” and proves that the female form can be used in a poignant way; not only to seduce men but empower herself too “Run it, run it (Like a girl), I work my femininity, I make these boys get on their knees”, using double entendre on sayings such as “throw it like a girl” and “run it like a girl” to show her power as a woman.
Take ‘Soulmate’, an anthem to feel yourself to; grab all your wobbly parts and hug ’em with love, because “I know how to love me, I know that I’m always gonna hold me down”. There are no men to drag you down, and just to tell yourself “damn I’m the one”. Lizzo does self-empowerment better than anyone else in the business at the moment. The powerful bop works brilliant and is the perfect song to leap out of bed to start a good day to.
Cuz I Love You isn’t just the same, up-beat one-note pop sound from beginning to end. Potentially the most potent and charged track of the whole album is ‘Jerome’. Following directly from the journey of self-love in ‘Soulmate’, ‘Jerome’ sits on par with No Scrubs as a break up ballad; the drive to be treated properly and to love someone, over the initial attraction and lust in a time where sexting is so common, Lizzo says “I’m sorry, 2 AM photos with smileys and hearts, Ain’t the way to my juicy parts” and that you need to “take your ass home” – she turns down anyone who doesn’t love her how she loves herself.
Continuing on the exploration of self-acceptance, Lizzo tackles body image and the larger form in the track ‘Tempo’ (funny enough, it has a very prominent tempo). Featuring Missy Elliot, the track focuses on the curves and swerves that some of us are blessed with; and how to use them. “I’m a thick bitch, I need tempo” and Lizzo proves that twerking works best when you have some junk in the trunk to work with – a statement I can say from personal experience of trying (and failing) in the club is 100% true. The body positivity make you want to let lose and shake what you were blessed with, because “thick thighs save lives”.
Lizzo then goes on to launch an assault on the labels we give to each other in the track ‘Better In Colour’. Tackling who we can and should love, Lizzo clearly states “Bitch, don’t label me, I’m me, famously” and we should all follow her lead on this. Doesn’t matter what you look like, how you identify, we should take each other for who we are, not how we’re labelled by others – and ‘Better In Colour’ does this very well. If we remove these labels, “got the whole world for the pickin'”. She erases labels of race, sexual orientation, sexual identity; and blurs them into one stunningly fantastic image of love without boundaries, which is an amazing vision for the future.
The encore in the deluxe edition is the single ‘Boys’. Lizzo has the women’s sexual drive and the conceived shame surrounding sexual freedom in her crosshairs – yet still continues to break the labels she should conform to. “I don’t discriminate, come and get a taste” being the take-home message, and one that we should all live by; as attraction can’t be bound by labels. Her sexual independence is also to be admired, as she openly admits that she sometimes just wants to “freak” – and what’s wrong with that?
Cuz I Love You challenges popular views on body image, labels, love, sex and femininity – and tells us what we should all know – Everyone is beautiful in their own way and that love is without labels is a magnificent thing.
Cuz I Love You is out now via Nice Life Recording Company and Atlantic Records
Watch the video for ‘Boys’ Below: