With her new album Special having been released earlier this month, we thought that "it's about damn time" to tackle a Lizzo Top 10 list! The R&B/hip-hop songstress has been on our radar ever since her fun, spunky music went mainstream around 2019.
Since releasing her debut album Cuz I Love You that same year, Lizzo has become more than just a musician. She's now an actor, a reality TV host (Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls on Amazon Prime), and even the owner of her own shapewear brand called Yitty. Lizzo's brand may be a whole lot bigger now, but she's always put the music first. Special proves she's still got it: the funky beats, the infectious energy, and those astounding flute solos no other artist can nail.
Lizzo (real name: Melissa Viviane Jefferson) was born in Detroit, Michigan but later moved to Houston, Texas, where she began performing until moving to Minneapolis: where her recording career in hip hop music started. Prior to signing with Nice Life and Atlantic Records, Lizzo released two studio albums — Lizzobangers (2013) and Big Grrrl Small World (2015). Lizzo's first major-label EP, Coconut Oil, was released in 2016. In addition to her two major label studio albums, we'll also be pulling songs from those aforementioned projects and putting them onto this list.
Ready to go through our "good as hell" list based around the loveable Lizzo? Let's get started!
A Lizzo banger from 2018, "Fitness" is all about getting in shape. But not for a man or for society: for your own mental wellbeing.
With minimal music production, Lizzo's edgy vocals, and a dollop of confidence, "Fitness" is the perfect song to blast during your next workout routine. We love how it features a reference to Donna Summer's song "Bad Girls" with the "Toot toot, beep beep" post-chorus, and shows off a more aggressive side to Lizzo that doesn't appear much on her newer material.
Lizzo explained the meaning of the song and its video in a statement at the time. "It’s a celebration of movement, highlighting the power in all body types," she said. "The women in this video are my team and closest collaborators including the brilliant director Quinn Wilson. I hope to inspire women all over to put themselves first. And next time someone has a critique about you or your body, say 'I don’t do this for you.'"
Our favorite ballad from the Minneapolis musician. "Jerome" is a melancholic-yet-raucous heartbreak song that's less about Lizzo's heart breaking than it is about her toughly breaking all ties with her ex-lover. This song shows off her vocal strength well, and it gave Lizzo her first Grammy win: “Best Traditional R&B Performance.”
While it's unclear if the "Jerome" mentioned in the song is or was based off a real person, Lizzo's intensity on the track certainly feels like it came from a real, authentic place. "Jerome" isn't just a one-dimensional breakup song, either. Lizzo mentions that she "can't let a pretty face distract me from business," and says "love isn't easy, so I'll do the hardest part." It all means that while Jerome has been a great short-term distraction, she realizes she can't be with him in the long-term for her own wellbeing.
Speaking about her more intimate singles like “Jerome” and “Lingerie,” Lizzo told Exclaim!: "Big women are pursued for relationships, big women deal with f---boys, big women are beautiful and loving creatures, and it’s just not talked about, because it’s not the story that mainstream media chooses to tell. I’m not creating a fantasy — if it’s shocking, it’s because that story isn’t told and that’s often because big women aren’t even involved to tell their [own] stories. I just happen to be here in the room, I have a platform and I’m telling the story. I’m not going to shy away from it, I’m not embarrassed, this is who I am."
8. "2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)"
This Max Martin-produced track is one of our favorites off Special. It's insanely catchy with its synth-pop influences, interesting beat, and happy-go-lucky chorus. As the title of the track already explains, Lizzo asks the question “Is she ready to be loved?” which could possibly be a post-continuation of her 2017 hit “Truth Hurts,” which is all about her loving herself, not being loved by someone else.
While "About Damn Time" has been getting more time on the radio lately, we think it won't be long until "2 Be Loved" starts getting played everywhere. On the song, Lizzo said: "As someone who’s been writing songs since I was 9, who studied music since I was 12, and who dreamed of being a performer, Max Martin is the dream collaborator. Recording ["2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)"] was like watching a legend in action. He’s an extremely collaborative, open, creative soul. The song is a callback to when pop records had key changes —that golden era of late-‘80s and early-'90s pop when singers had massive records that were vocally impressive but also danceable, and the production quality was very intentional. I think it’s a work of art. It’s a masterpiece."
7. "Good as Hell"
"Good as Hell" was originally a song released by Lizzo in 2016 as part of the Barbershop: The Next Cut soundtrack. It had something of a resurrection in 2019, when it was finally included on the Super Deluxe version of her debut album Cuz I Love You.
"Good as Hell" is all about the magical power of self-care. It was also produced by Ricky Reed, who is behind a ton of 2016 hits by Twenty One Pilots, Meghan Trainor, and more. Lizzo described the process of making the song with Idolator.
"It came from Ricky Reed and I," she explained. "We have such a great chemistry in the studio and I think we had maybe made one or two songs prior. We were still doing chemistry tests with each other. We were in the studio and he was playing this piano riff and he was like, 'How does this make you feel?'. I went through a lot of things in my head but it made me feel was like the hair toss emoji. You know, the pink sweater emoji girl with the hair. So I went from that hair toss, to checking my nails. It was a natural statement that came out my mouth. Ricky was like 'feeling good as hell'. We just rolled with that."
An underrated track off Lizzo's Coconut Oil EP, "Worship" has a whole lotta soul. "Worship" was another collaboration with Ricky Reed: the first-ever song Lizzo wrote with him in Los Angeles.
In an April 2019 interview with Zachary Campbell, Lizzo stated she was not a singer before recording this song. She went on to say she would mostly rap and sing a little on her hooks. During the recording of "Worship," Ricky asked Lizzo if she could sing and she said a little. He then tested her by playing a few notes to test how high she could sing. Surprisingly, she could hit notes higher than she thought she could.
At the time, Lizzo said the experience was different and she didn’t feel like herself. We're glad Ricky Reed pushed her. If he didn't, we're not sure if we'd have several of the Lizzo classics we have today.
We remember first falling in love with this groovy song while watching the trailer to the 2019 teen comedy Booksmart. With a rockin' bass and a surplus of energy from Lizzo, "Boys" is an ode to, well, boys – in all their many shapes, sizes, and sexualities.
“Boys” was released as a single in June 2018 and later, in May 2019, as a bonus track on Cuz I Love You (Deluxe). Throughout the song, Lizzo conveys that she "doesn’t discriminate" when it comes to men in her dating pool. Lizzo confirmed that meaning further, saying: "I want people to feel free, I want people to have fun, I want these boys to know that you could be my next victim...if you play your cards right.”
In the music video, Lizzo dances in several locations, including in front of Schmitt's Music Wall in Minneapolis – the iconic music note wall where Prince was photographed in 1977.
While Lizzo had other acclaimed songs before the release of "Juice," this jam is what started to get her mainstream attention. “Juice” continues Lizzo's streak of feel-good singles about loving and being yourself, and is another track co-written with Ricky Reed.
Lizzo told Apple Music about "Juice," "If you only listen to one song from Cuz I Love You, let it be this. It’s a banger, obviously, but it’s also a state of mind. At the end of the day, I want my music to make people feel good, I want it to help people love themselves. This song is about looking in the mirror, loving what you see, and letting everyone know."
"Juice" is also packed with sweet lyrical lemonade. Some of our favorite lines include "I’m the pudding in the proof," "I be drippin' so much sauce
Got a bih lookin’ like RAGÚ," and "No, I'm not a snack at all
Look, baby, I'm the whole damn meal." Another reason to love "Juice?" Lizzo's friends can be heard singing the background responses in the pre-chorus. And finally, if you're wondering what Lizzo is actually referring to when she's talking about her "juice," well...we'll let her explain here.
3. "Tempo (feat. Missy Elliot)"
"I've been WAITING for this one! Turn it up!"
There's truly nothing like listening to "Tempo" for the first time. In this Cuz I Love You hit, Lizzo goes back to her hip-hop roots to deliver a bangin', sexy, wild track. With some fire electric guitar, trap snap, and other unique electronic noises – such as firecrackers exploding – it's hard to sit still while listening to this slick tune.
Oh, and did we mention rap queen Missy Elliot has an incredible solo during this song's bridge? It's so good, she practically steals the show. But that's not to say Lizzo's bars aren't incredible, too. Some of our favorites include "Kitty cat, kitty cat, kitty-kitty cat / Prrr me a glass, boy, I like my water wet," and "Thick thighs save lives, call me little buttercup."
Fun fact: "Tempo" almost didn't make it onto Cuz I Love You. Lizzo has explained that she kept it off the album because she felt the instrumentation didn't match the rest of the record. When she had an album listening party with her label and friends, she asked if there were any songs that deserved honorable mentions. Her friends mentioned "Tempo," and Lizzo played the song just to play it. "No joke, everybody in the room looked at me like, Are you crazy? If you don’t put this song on the album, you’re insane. Then we got Missy and the rest is history,” she told Apple Music.
2. "About Damn Time"
Lizzo's most recent hit that's been trending all over TikTok and the radio. There's something about the feel-good "About Damn Time" that feels timeless. Maybe it's the heavy disco influence, or perhaps the universal lyrics about body positivity and self-love. Or maybe it's that awesome flute solo in the bridge!
We think the true genius of "About Damn Time" lies in its title. The phrase "about damn time" can apply to any situation – finally having a wedding, starting fresh in a new city, coming out to friends and family, or overcoming the stress of a global pandemic and having fun in public for the first time in a long while. It's why the song has been doing so well on the charts and online recently: it can complement peoples' life events in many sorts of ways.
Speaking of chart success, "About Damn Time" reached the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 during the week ending July 30. It is Lizzo’s second song to reach number one. Her first song to do so is #1 on our list...
1. "Truth Hurts"
The deluxe version of Cuz I Love You managed to sneak in Lizzo's 2017 single "Truth Hurts," which miraculously became a viral sleeper hit two years after its initial release. It topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and became the longest-leading solo song by a female rapper. It also raised tons of fan speculation about Lizzo dating a Minnesota Viking, which turned out to be true. In December 2019, she teased she’d reveal the man if her tweet got one million retweets, but unfortunately the tweet didn’t reach the milestone.
Why did "Truth Hurts" have such a stunning resurrection? We think its an equal mix of masterful songwriting, stellar music production, and a relatable girl anthem message. In the song, Lizzo flaunts her confidence despite undergoing a painful breakup. It's hit lines like "I just took a DNA test, turns out I'm 100% that b----" and "Why men great 'til they gotta be great?" that have cemented this song in pop culture history.
"Truth Hurts" has also become something of a glorious reminder of how far Lizzo has come. She told People that she considered quitting music after the release of "Truth Hurts," but her family and collaborators encouraged her to continue with her career. Thankfully, she stuck it out – allowing her to reap the benefits and watch the song become a hit.
Check out our selection of free stations streaming Lizzo music at Live365.com.
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