Monday, October 14th, 2019

Lizzo – Good As Hell

We look forward to “Juice” hitting the top 40 sometime in 2021..


Katie Gill: It is infinitely amusing that with Lizzo’s career trajectory, her songs that are 2-3 years old are getting the radio play instead of her current work. Granted, “Good As Hell” is an absolute banger. But it’s an absolute banger that is obviously a product of Lizzo’s earlier work, especially when compared the the musical evolution she shows on Cuz I Love You. It’s also an absolute banger that seems tailor-made for inclusion in movie trailers or makeover montages but hey, get that bread Lizzo.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Lizzo singles don’t expire after three years; they’re just like chardonnay, get better over time. 

Thomas Inskeep: Goddamn, Lizzo can wring every bit of strength out of a female empowerment lyric, can’t she? And she nails the rapping/singing combo like no one since — I dunno, Lauryn Hill? In fact, maybe she’s the rightful heir to L-Boogie’s throne? And she does it all so damn joyfully to boot. Talk about fresh air on the radio.

Joshua Copperman: After enjoying Big GRRL Small World, I remember hearing that Lizzo signed to Atlantic, working with the insufferably goofy producer Ricky Reed. It felt like a classic “sell-out” moment even if the term has lost all meaning. This song felt destined to blow up, but went nowhere. Neither did “Phone,” and neither did “Truth Hurts.” Cuz I Love You could incorporate her earlier, more political work in ways that felt authentic… but then “Truth Hurts” got massive, and “Good As Hell” is well on its way. There’s a sense that Lizzo will go further in the shouting party anthem direction. She’s a great interview, and a fantastic live performer, but it’s disappointing to foresee a Bruno Mars-style trajectory when there’s so much more to offer. At this rate, Big GRRL Small World could see a rerelease as the darker, more ambitious follow up, but she’s still clearly happier making mindless party music. If she saves the thoughtful political commentary for when Terry Gross calls her “brave”, that’s okay.

Stephen Eisermann: It is so hard to fault Lizzo’s older material. While it’s very easy to be cynical about self-empowerment anthems today, Lizzo has consistently shown that she excels at putting herself, a plus-size black woman, first and showing other people how to put themselves first. It’s hard to separate her past hits from whatever current story she is involved in (like that horrid Postmates debacle), but, fuck, you are full lying if you say you don’t smile on even your worst day when you play this chorus. The background vocals, the energy, the personality — no part doesn’t hold up. There is no chorus like a Lizzo chorus, no matter how long it has taken people to notice. 

Alfred Soto: Lizzo released a terrific album this year, you know, on which her sense of rhythm and how a star in waiting presents her material meshes wit the body-positivity messages. 

Tobi Tella: Sometimes the strength of a song is enough to push past any factors trying to stop it from entering the public conciousness. “Good As Hell” is a little corny, sure, but it’s also empowerment without pandering, an uplifting song that doesn’t feel the need to insert generic platitudes. Most of all, it’s fun, which is something I think 2019 music totally misses most of the time.

Kayla Beardslee: Personally, I’m looking forward to a couple singles from now, when Lizzo’s team will be looking so far in the past for singles to push that they’ll arrive at a point before her music career began and encounter a time paradox. If “Truth Hurts” can go #1 two years after its release, anything is possible, and why can’t that include Lizzo deconstructing our understanding of time as a linear concept? Oh, and I’m supposed to review the song, too. Yeah, “Good As Hell” bops, will bop, has bopped, bops in the subjunctive, etc. The vocals are fantastic, and the piano riff gives the song a constant feeling of forward motion. It’s the kind of track that makes you want to sing along, and even if (like me) you fail at imitating Lizzo’s attention-grabbing vibrato, “Good As Hell” is so relentlessly fun that you’ll feel happy about it anyways.

Kylo Nocom: The power of hindsight is very strange. I used to see talk go around about how “Good as Hell” sounded like it could have been a hit, and now that it is one, is that underdog appeal still here? I used to think that her being compared to Natasha Bedingfield in Pitchfork’s review of Cuz I Love You was unfair, but in hindsight, it’s not really that far off. Values PSAs had “Where Is the Love?” then, and the soundtrack to them would be “Good as Hell” now. That’s not a condemnation: corny stays in fashion, and with sounds as lovely as the ones Lizzo selects (namely, the drum kit of the chorus and the sampled vocal belts) it’s easy to ignore how ultimately juvenile the message feels.

Jackie Powell: Right now as we speak, “Good as Hell” sits at number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was featured in the third film in the cult series “Barbershop,” which starred fellow women in hip-hop Eve and Nicki Minaj, both whom Lizzo currently eclipses in relevance. Like the film, this track came out three years ago. This sleeper hit, along with Lizzo’s career, has emerged from the ashes. They are a collective rising like a phoenix but with slightly more swagger and chock-full of sass. How is all of this possible? Lizzo’s entire being defines what it means to be living in 2019. Self-care, inner strength, and an IDGAF attitude. That’s why “Good as Hell” hit harder in 2019 rather than three years earlier. Zane Lowe has referred to this track as an “instant vintage vibe” and that’s due to clean but predictable production from Ricky Reed. Lizzo’s delivery functions in between a bounce in the verses and sweeping call and response in the pre-chorus and the hook. Her magic remains in the way she works to make her raps more digestible for listeners who live on the throwback playlists on Spotify. She’s creating a similar product to Mark Ronson in that they both aim to bring sounds from then and now together in a triumphant union. Thank goodness for Lizzo, someone who has the secret recipe to make anyone feel “as good as hell,” a task far from effortless.

Vikram Joseph: It seems kind of fitting that I’m writing this before work on a wet Monday morning, because “Good As Hell” is transformative in a way that’s hard to resist. Taylor Swift might have recently claimed that she “want[s] your dreary Mondays” (ok, not yours, Joe Alwyn’s), but “Good As Hell” simply will not allow them to exist — at least for 2 minutes and 37 seconds. It achieves this mostly because of the melancholy that lurks in the corners of the song, and because of the way that classic descending chord progression confers a sense of unconditional positivity in the face of chronic adversity. The delivery of “baby, how you feeling?” should win awards — most singers would sell it as uncomplicated celebration, but Lizzo sounds incredibly empathetic, concerned even, like she half-expects the answer might be “like shit, Lizzo, I feel like shit.” And the song’s instant meme — “hair toss, check my nails!” — is actually a performance piece in putting your best self out there when your heart feels bruised and tired. The strange, wonderful alchemy of “Good As Hell” is that, through method-acting feeling good as hell when all of your instincts tell you that you really don’t, it actually makes you feel fucking incredible.

Reader average: [6.42] (7 votes)

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3 Responses to “Lizzo – Good As Hell”

  1. Can’t stop thinking about how this came out two months before Coloring Book and did Coloring Book better than Coloring Book did Coloring Book.

  2. Also if any Lizzo song deserves its belated time in the sun it is undoubtedly Boys.

  3. Or Water Me!!

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