Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Lizzo – Phone

I mean, today I pawed through eight separate moving boxes looking for the keys I swore I dropped in one of them, heard the sound and everything, only to find them in my laptop bag…


Peter Ryan: The Twin Cities hip hop artists that get national attention are almost entirely of the conscious or conscious-adjacent variety. After waging a relentless campaign over the last few years, Lizzo stands a great chance of a) upending that trend, and b) being the biggest artist of any genre to break out of Minneapolis since Prince, full stop. To be fair, she claims Detroit and Houston as formative hometowns, and has been talking about Coconut Oil as her most Motown and gospel-shaped work yet. “Phone” isn’t really where those influences show up — it’s basically just her, the beat, and some robot noises. It’s not a rap tour de force by her standards, introspection is beside the point, and it might not even be the most radio-friendly of the new material. It is an unabashed party jam in the mold of “Batches and Cookies”, #relatable and most importantly, memorable. It’s more than capable of sustaining her march toward an ever-wider audience, and I look forward to bearing witness to her continued ascent.

Katherine St Asaph: Big GRRRL Small World dropped like a meteorite: opulent arrangements, gonzo song structures, charisma and punchlines for months. Then the VMAs came calling, and because the VMAs only understand music as protruding inconveniences to be hammered down with the meme mallet, they retrofitted her into a VH1 comedian. The majors also came calling, and they gave her Charlie Puth’s producer. “Phone,” featuring a “Selfie”-level joke and a track the aforementioned producer wrote in like two seconds, is the result. I don’t know that I’ve seen a worse launch of an artist who deserves much better.

Crystal Leww: If you ever have a chance to see Lizzo live, you should definitely go. Lizzo on stage is magnetic and charming and her shows are just good vibes and good energy. Lizzo’s recorded songs are usually solid, sometimes relying heavily on good sample selection, but her in-person charisma doesn’t always translate well into recorded tracks, and her songs sometimes sound like high-quality but standard mixtape rapper fare. Case in point is “Phone,” which is a ton of fun live but a little repetitive absent of that context. “Phone” runs less than three minutes, but by the time it’s over, it’s already overstayed its welcome.

Joshua Copperman: Lizzo’s “Ain’t I” might be one of my favorite rap songs of the decade — a glorious, confrontational clusterfuck of industrial music, jazz and some truly stunning, abrasive verses. So I have no idea what to make of this, part of her first EP since signing to a major label. The video’s fantastic, but the actual song sounds created just for virality. I get if she’s trying to show a goofier side of herself, but she can do so much more.

Iain Mew: I’m glad there’s a song with a punchline that captures the relatable malaise of getting so used to reaching into your pocket to check your phone that you end up trying to do it while holding said phone. I’m not as certain whether a song in the form of a drunken ramble interspersed with a phone-themed “My Humps” hook is a development we need, but maybe that’s just sobriety speaking.

Olivia Rafferty: Brash and repetitive as any drunk girl I’ve met at the club. Oddly endearing as any drunk girl I’ve met at the club. Spewing epiphanies such as “what the hell these Louboutins for?” with the same sense of indignation as those many, many, wonderful drunk girls I’ve met at the club.

Ryo Miyauchi: Lizzo flips an everyday grump into a hook made for a superstar, and she turns my biggest first-world fear into a pop song. Nothing sounds more daunting to me than my phone dying while I’m completely lost out at night. But rather than channeling anxiety, she delivers her night out like a day-after story that begins like, “oh my god, guess what happened to me last night.” She’s not afraid to make a fool of herself, and that’s the best part.

Will Adams: God, imagine this as a Lip Sync For Your Life.

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