Special review | Lizzo returns with an album of bootylicious bangers

Lizzo’s new album is a mix of empowering, booty-shaking bangers and some deeply emotional stuff about identity and love.

Lizzo Special


Lizzo’s new album is a mix of empowering, booty-shaking bangers and some deeply emotional stuff about identity and love.

“Hi, motherfucker, did you miss me?”

These are the first lyrics heard on ‘The Sign’, the opening track of Lizzo’s long-awaited new album Special. And yes, we’ve missed Lizzo and her funky beats and relatable lyrics. The singer’s fourth album comes after some controversy over an offensive lyric, but Special is exactly what it says it is.

The entire album is filled with certified bangers; ‘About Damn Time,’ already a viral hit, is a feel-good song I haven’t been able to get out my head for weeks. Most of the songs have the quality of being blasted in someone’s bedroom at 9pm on a Friday night during pre-drinks (the best part, of course). You’ll sing ‘Grrrls’ with a mascara wand in one hand and a white wine spritzer in the other, tipsy and swaying before the night even truly begins. 


‘The Sign’ reflects upon the pandemic, with Lizzo singing about staying at home since 2020, twerking and making smoothies (didn’t we all?). ‘Coldplay’ samples Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’ and ‘Break Up Twice’ samples Lauryn Hill’s ‘Doo Wop,’ Special is perhaps missing one massive song that cuts above the rest; all the songs have a similar quality to them, they’re great but none stand out on their own. 

Special continues Lizzo’s career-goal of empowering people through her music. She encourages self-love and what’s so great about Special – and Lizzo’s discography in general – is that there’s never any doubt about her. Or, in fact, our own worth. 

More than anything, Lizzo is sexy. Lyrics like “It’s bad bitch o’clock, yeah, it’s thick-thirty” in ‘About Damn Time’ and the chorus to ‘Naked,’ “I’m naked, Love how you look at me naked, Come make this body feel sacred, I’m a big girl, can you take it? Naked”, reminds us that sexiness isn’t about size or looks, but about confidence and self-love ultimately. 

She never expresses any struggle with her appearance or worthiness, but it would be wrong to simply reduce Lizzo and her music to just body positivity. 

As well as self-love, the album is also about love between friends and romantic partners. That might make Lizzo’s new work sound sappy and unimportant but it’s anything but. Special features plenty of profanities and sass, but it never feels like a shallow attempt to be edgy or to fit in a certain mould. With Special, Lizzo speaks the truth and makes you dance to the beat of it too. 

If there is a fault to be found in Special, it is that it’s weirdly structured. The album opens with such high-energy bangers and many of the slower, ballad-like songs are placed towards the end of the album, which creates a strange flow. The energy just goes down, even though ‘Naked’ and ‘Coldplay’ are just as good as ‘The Sign’ and ‘2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)’.

Overall, this is yet another strong album from Lizzo. She’s obviously a highly skilled vocalist, but Special is great because it’s also fun, sexy and empowering, just like Lizzo herself. 

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