Lizzo: Special review – next-level irresistible disco-pop

(Nice Life/Atlantic)
Her astonishing vocals and relatable lyrics remain a joy as the force-of-nature singer-songwriter picks up where Cuz I Love You left off

Three of the weirder years have passed since Lizzo’s breakthrough album Cuz I Love You. Still, the former Melissa Jefferson seems blithely unaffected: Special sounds like it could’ve been released the week after. As ever, the US singer-songwriter’s good-egg energy suffuses the set, and her accessible, disco-tinged pop is taken to another level by her wonderful way with words. Lizzo takes a rapper’s pen to pop lyrics, with authenticity and immediacy prized over mindless cliche. It’s been tried before, but rarely with this sort of panache. On top of that, her voice is eighth-wonder territory – fabulously powerful yet infinitely flexible, an appealing blend of confidence and yearning.

Musically, Special’s a bit of a retread. Lead single About Damn Time, with its Saturday-night, last-song-before-we-leave-the-house vibe, bounces on a similar podium to 2019’s Juice, and the title track boasts imperious orchestration, just as it did on Cuz I Love You. But it works. More than anything, Lizzo’s easy relatability is reminiscent of Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s 30-year-old classic Summertime and its narcotic final verse, jumbled memories cohering into vivid brilliance. Lizzo manages something similar in almost every song.

Watch the video for About Damn Time by Lizzo.


Damien Morris

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Lizzo review – a joyful, slightly rude hug of a night out
The cult rapper woos 5,000 fans with a nimble mix of funk, pop and hip-hop

Kitty Empire

09, Nov, 2019 @2:00 PM

Article image
Lizzo review – like downing a quadruple espresso martini of female self-reliance
The Glasgow-loving US star’s whip-smart extravaganza of glittering sisterhood is an irresistible showcase of hits and positivity with just a hint of pop juggernaut

Kitty Empire

11, Mar, 2023 @2:00 PM

Article image
Lizzo: Cuz I Love You review – on the bright side of history
US singer and rapper Melissa Jefferson’s third album is the biggest, most focused set of her career thus far

Kitty Empire

20, Apr, 2019 @1:00 PM

Article image
Lizzo: Big Grrrl Small World review – feminist self-affirmation and braggadocio
The playful rapper takes her cues from Lauryn Hill on this second album that’s more musical than its predecessor

Kitty Empire

13, Dec, 2015 @9:00 AM

Article image
Wet Leg review – an irresistible, stop-start blast
Two songs turned this absurdist duo into an indie sensation, and it seems their reckless commitment to fun has only just begun

Kitty Empire

30, Oct, 2021 @1:00 PM

Article image
Kylie: Disco review – the ultimate rescue remedy
In these dark days, Kylie steps up and delivers a shimmering stream of dancefloor bangers

Michael Cragg

07, Nov, 2020 @2:00 PM

Article image
St Vincent review – naked thrills and dark disco
Annie Clark has crafted an unsettlingly sexy live show fit for the heavy themes and neon 80s pulse of Masseduction

Kitty Empire

02, Sep, 2018 @8:00 AM

Article image
Tame Impala: The Slow Rush review – polished disco funk
Kevin Parker shifts further away from his psych rock roots, while pondering happiness and his continued relevance

Kitty Empire

15, Feb, 2020 @2:00 PM

Article image
Kele Okereke: Fatherland review – goodbye disco, hello folk

Paul Mardles

08, Oct, 2017 @7:00 AM

Article image
The Cribs: 24/7 Rock Star Shit review – irresistible raw energy
(Sonic Blew/Red Essential)

Emily Mackay

13, Aug, 2017 @7:00 AM