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The undisputed winner of 2019 is going to be Lizzo mark my words.
The undisputed winner of 2019 is going to be Lizzo mark my words.

TopsifyFebruary 21, 2019

Why we love Lizzo

The undisputed winner of 2019 is going to be Lizzo mark my words.
The undisputed winner of 2019 is going to be Lizzo mark my words.

She’s the tsunami taking the world over – and you better get on the wave before you get dragged under. Sam Brooks tells you why you love Lizzo.

The love

“I toss my hair back, check my nails, baby how you feeling?

Feeling good as hell!

It’s the refrain that was heard the world over in 2018 – and not a moment too soon. The post-break-up feel-good anthem ‘Good as Hell’, two years after its release, finally got the love that it deserved, the very love that it advertised and gave out. It was the year everybody seemed to catch up on Lizzo, and that song in particular. It can be easy for self-love to feel hollow or over-workshopped, but Lizzo’s ‘Good as Hell’ felt as genuine as a high-five from a stranger.

Because the one thing that permeates all of Lizzo’s eclectic discography is love. Love for yourself, love for your body, love for those around you. Love the skin your in, love the body beneath that skin, and the human being that inhabits that body and the rest will come along.

It’s very easy to preach inclusivity – one might say that it’s part of what’s required for a popstar to be acceptable to society in general nowadays – but it’s so much harder to practice it. In an interview with NME, Lizzo explains this process:

“Like for instance, the original lyric in [last year’s single] ‘Truth Hurts’ was: ‘I will never ever ever ever be a side-chick.’ But then I was like, ‘That’s not fair to people who ended up in situations where they became a side-chick.’ Shit happens, you know, so why would I wanna exclude someone from liking my song because I say that one line? So I changed the lyric to ‘your side-chick’. It’s little things like that that I’m very conscious of. I’ve felt excluded from things my whole life, so my job is to never let anyone else feel that way.”

In an era of swish-swish-bishes and look-at-what-you-made-me-dos, Lizzo is an uplifting full-souled serotonin shot in the heart. She loves – and in doing so, leads – by example.

The humour

That might make Lizzo sound like she’s preachy. But if she’s a preacher, then she’s one who knows that the other side of loving yourself is being able to laugh at yourself.

Take, for example, the opening to 2017’s ‘Truth Hurts’:

“I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch

Even when I’m crying crazy

Yeah, I got boy problems, that’s the human in me

Bling bling, then I solve ’em, that’s the goddess in me

You coulda had a bad bitch, non-committal

Help you with your career just a little

You’re ‘posed to hold me down, but you’re holding me back

And that’s the sound of me not calling you back”

Just about everybody who’s had the misfortune of being attracted to a man can relate to those lyrics. But Lizzo turns that frustration and pain into something that you can laugh at. We laugh so we don’t cry.

Then there’s this simple couplet from the aforementioned feel-gooder ‘Good as Hell’:

If he don’t love you anymore

Just walk your fine ass out the door

Hyperlinked fingersnaps for that, Lizzo.

But, for me, the crowning achievement of Lizzo’s sense of humour – outside of social media, and we’ll get to that – is the barely three-minute song ‘Phone’:

Where the hell my phone? Where the hell my phone?

Where the hell my, where the hell my phone, huh?

How I’m ‘posed to get home?

Where the hell my phone? Where the hell my phone?

Where the hell my, where the hell my phone, huh?

How I’m ‘posed to get home?

Shakespeare it ain’t, but the lyrics – and Lizzo’s delivery – is funnier than anything in Measure for Measure, that’s for real.

Lizzo’s humour is a part of what makes her relatable and feel as human as she is. It’s not human to be the badass popstar who throws shade with her hooks – it might be aspirational, but it’s not necessarily relatable. But Lizzo, poking fun as much as she’s giving love, feels as human as all of us do.

The range

Even though her EP Coconut Oil was her first major label release (if you look back into Lizzo’s back catalogue, there’s a startling range of genres represented) one of her best early songs, ‘Be Still’, is just straight up metal. 

Even if you look at her recent releases, there’s infusions of soul, gospel, R&B, bounce, disco. None of her songs sound exactly the same.

But range isn’t about showing off what you’re capable of, it’s about showing off what you’re capable of owning. And no matter where her inspiration seems to take her – whether it’s the 70s throwback of ‘Juice’ or the Aretha-style slow-ballad ‘Cuz I Love You’ – Lizzo proves that she has the range.

I mean it’s 2019 – what is genre anyway except a way to limit and cage ourselves?

The presence

I’m not just talking about her stage presence here (she’s got that presence to boot), but Lizzo’s presence on social media.

Social media presence is one of those poisonous phrases that can make you recoil from your screen like you’ve seen one of those scream surprise videos. Especially nowadays that brands are trying to cash in on the relatability game by making self-deprecating tweets and reverse-generating their own memes.

Lizzo, however, is one of those rare humans who makes you think that social media is a force for good rather than a force for evil. Instead of being a tool to make her seem relatable, it’s a way for her to express her genuine charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. 

Exhibit A: her call to get people to vote:

Exhibit B: her audition to play Ursula in The Little Mermaid remake: 

Exhibit C: her other audition to play Ursula in The Little Mermaid remake:

Exhibit D all the way through to Z: her riding an escalator the only way that you should ride an escalator:

Also, her flute has an Instagram!

The feminism

Put bluntly: Lizzo’s feminism is the feminism that we should be aspiring to. It’s intersectional, it’s unashamed, and it’s aggressively and progressively inclusive.

Put less bluntly: All the things that I’ve mentioned about Lizzo are folded into her feminism.

Her love: she loves herself and shows how politicised that can be when you’re in a society that’s historically told you that you shouldn’t love a version of yourself that doesn’t look like the status quo.

Her humour: it’s never mean-spirited and never at the expense of anybody less fortunate than her. She never punches down.

Her range: women can do anything, any genre of music, and don’t need to be limited to one box or thing. Metal? Sure. Gospel? Why not! A feature on a track with bounce legend Big Freedia? Absolutely.

Her social media presence: she celebrates her flaws as much as she does her successes.

And it’s important to note that a key part of her feminism is her body-positivity: Lizzo is never hidden in her videos. She’s present, she shows off, she’s allowed to own her size, and she allows people of all genders, sizes and fluidities to show off in her videos. We’re a long way away from the days of ‘Rolling in the Deep’ – a video which did its best to hide the fact that Adele didn’t look like Taylor Swift.

This is a Lizzo in tight-fitting clothing. She’s dancing, she’s twerking, and she’s showing off everything she has to give the world – her talent, her beauty, her love, her humour, her range.

And that she does all of this while, you know, being a genuinely talented performer that makes great music?

That’s special.

The flute

On top of all this? Lizzo is a classically-trained flautist. Her flute, Sasha Flute, has its own Instagram which follows nobody. She regularly plays her flute in her live shows.

I’ll let Lizzo’s words speak for herself – she does it better than I ever could.

This content was created in paid partnership with Topsify and Warner Music NZ. Learn more about our partnerships here.

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