Since her indie days, Lizzo has been a distinctive and multi-talented artist capable of blending rap, soul, pop, and her classical training with positive messages and a sharp sense of humor. On her major-label debut Cuz I Love You, she takes all of these strengths to the next level, and the results are her most consistent, and consistently joyous, set of songs yet. Working with a creative team that includes producer Ricky Reed -- with whom Lizzo connected shortly after releasing her second album, Big Grrrl Small World -- she continues to embrace her gospel roots and the full power of her voice. It's a journey she began on that album and 2016's Coconut Oil EP, both of which feel like dress rehearsals for what she unleashes on Cuz I Love You. Lizzo wastes no time in showing off her range: The title track kicks off the album with stunning high notes and powerful vocalizing that add new dimensions to her music and lyrics ("I thought I was love-impaired") that prove she's as witty as ever. As hinted by its other lead singles, Cuz I Love You's musical range is almost as wide as Lizzo's vocal one. The sexy roller disco of "Juice" and "Tempo"'s sleekly rumbling shout-out to thick girls -- which makes equal time for a Missy Elliott cameo and a flute solo -- are wildly different, but share Lizzo's effortless charisma. That charisma also unites all the other twists and turns she throws at her audience over the course of Cuz I Love You. She's unapologetically funky on "Cry Baby," while "Jerome"'s fusion of gospel, soul, and trap is another example of how cleverly Lizzo blends traditional sounds into her songs about love and lust in the late 2010s. She manages the unlikely feat of being raunchy and uplifting at the same time on "Better in Color," and serves up seduction with a wink on the standout closing track "Lingerie," which boasts one of her sultriest vocals as well as the singular double entendre "you make me crescendo." More importantly, when she sings the praises of singlehood on "Soulmate," it sounds like it's the best choice, not second choice. Elsewhere, Lizzo's empowering messages extend to "Like a Girl"'s celebration of powerful women and the importance of being true to your feelings -- whatever they may be -- on the Gucci Mane collaboration "Exactly How I Feel." Fueled by megawatt energy that never lets up, Cuz I Love You is a triumphant showcase for every part of Lizzo's talent, physicality, and sexuality.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares