Album review: Lizzo – Special

Lizzo makes her return seen, heard, and felt with her fourth album, Special

“Hi motherf***er, did you miss me?” Lizzo asks on opening track ‘The Sign’. The answer is obviously yes.

Lizzo has delivered a very clear message in her music since she first hit the scene in 2011, but she really drove it home in 2019 with the release of third album Cuz I Love Yo, the record that projected Lizzo into the pop consciousness of the entire world – “this is me, you’re welcome!”.

Her 2019 album went viral with tracks like ‘Truth Hurts’ and Special arrives now with the buzz intact thanks to the ear-worm track ‘About Damn Time’, which received the mark of approval from TikTok users earlier this year.

Lizzo - About Damn Time [Official Video]

A former student of classical music, Lizzo and her trusty companion Sasha Flute return in force here with a wind section helping to keep the energy high and remind you this is a Lizzo record at every opportunity.

The album is filled with potentially viral audio moments and lines that deserve to be screamed in a club at 2am. As I write this, I am preparing to welcome a group of girlfriends over for the weekend to embrace the sunshine and raise a glass (or two), and as if by magic, Lizzo has delivered the perfect soundtrack.

These are the songs that you sing along to as if nobody is watching. The songs that force you to park any self-doubt and to not just embrace, but love the body you’re in. Lizzo has already empowered a generation of women who grew up force-fed bad body-image ideals, and here the message is clearer than ever: “screw permission, I demand to be worshiped”.  

The album opens strong with back-to-back dance tracks that build to a climax with ‘2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)’ which, if ringtones were still a thing, would definitely be mine. With 80s synthpop elements, a killer key change, and far too many sassy lines to choose from, I already know this song is going to make an appearance on my Spotify Wrapped for 2022.  

Elsewhere, ‘Everybody’s Gay’ gives all the Gloria Estefan-realness you could ask for as Lizzo instructs us to “keep your pussy poppin’”.

It’s not all a dance party, however, as Lizzo shares some vulnerabilities in ‘Naked’ and ‘If You Love Me’ which are prime for some in-the-shower singing. While she may preach about self-love, Lizzo admits that even she struggles sometimes. “Wish I could fall in love with me so easily like you did”, she sings.

Bidding farewell with ‘Coldplay’, which samples lines from the band’s ‘Yellow’, Lizzo brings to a close an album that feels far too short at just over 35 minutes long (but when has a Lizzo record ever felt long enough?).

Lizzo’s return provides back-to-back bangers of both the happy and sad variety, and comes just in time for hot girl summer. Thinking of going out for a dance this weekend? In the immortal words of Lizzo herself, “If you’re looking for a sign, bitch I’m it!”

Special is out now. Find tickets for upcoming gigs and tours here.