Wednesday, August 25th, 2021

Lizzo ft. Cardi B – Rumors

Not a Lindsay Lohan cover…


Al Varela: This is the best possible comeback Lizzo could have hoped for. I adore the triumphant trumpet breakdown on the chorus and the confident wobble of the bass, as Lizzo and Cardi’s hilarious quips and incredible bravado draw you into the song’s theatrics. What makes Lizzo such a magnetic presence is her force of personality, her convincing you that she really is that bitch. She brags about being so badass and sure of herself that she knows she’s going to have sex with Drake eventually. Not even “I could have sex with Drake” — “I WILL have sex with Drake.” To hear that confidence as Lizzo tears down the constant sexism, racism, and fatphobia that comes her way is cathartic as hell.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: “Rumors” is clearly trying to achieve something similar to Lizzo’s two sleeper hits from 2019. It fails at this — the quotables here are less universal, the hooks less friendly. Fortunately, that makes “Rumors” a better song, imbued with a specificity and meanness that those tracks (and most of Cuz I Love You) lacked. It’s even better than Cardi B’s similar efforts around this theme– the union of Lizzo’s pop songcraft and Cardi’s pop personality creates a finely honed hook machine. Ricky Reed’s beat-work captures some of the mid-’70s R&B-rock glitz that a song like this deserves. It’s still corny, but it’s a version of corny with enough surprises that it doesn’t sound like it should be playing in CVS.

Thomas Inskeep: Riding a beat reminiscent of “The Real Slim Shady,” Lizzo just complains about — you know what she’s complaining about — to no point. Even Cardi can’t save this.

Tobi Tella: “Proving the haters wrong” anthems feel kind of self-defeating at this point, so it’s nice to hear one with full “and what?” energy. There’s still a streak of twee, but hearing Lizzo on something freakier than her Disneyfied mainstream breakthroughs just feels right.

Ian Mathers: There’s probably some Sun Tzu/Machiavelli-type advice about turning gossip to your own advantage that explains what Lizzo and Cardi are doing here, but “Rumors” has one big advantage over that: It’s a hell of a lot more fun.

Harlan Talib Ockey: Is this not just “Look What You Made Me Do”‘s cooler cousin? “Fuck the rumors and the haters, here’s a massively underwhelming chorus”? Still, it’s reasonably quotable, and Cardi’s actually part of the song, not lazily tacked on to jack up the streaming numbers.

Katherine St Asaph: You know, I was never a huge fan of Cuz I Love You, but at least Lizzo was a force on it, demolishing pretty every song. This demolishes nothing. The beat is halfhearted, the faux-Middle Eastern licks even more so — if you’re reviving that questionable part of the early 2000s, at least commit. Don’t try to make it tasteful! The brass is the most General MIDI-sounding filler I’ve heard since the Angelfire era. Most disappointingly, Lizzo barely seems present for her boasting. Even Cardi sounds low energy, which I didn’t even know was possible.

Nortey Dowuona: The first line is such a gut-punch that “Rumors” can’t really get out of its defensive crouch. The song never becomes the spin kick it wants to be — it attempts to hit back, but “it hurt itself in its confusion!” (The synth horns definitely don’t help. I wish the drum breakdown on both the pre-chorus and first repetition of the chorus had sprung into a “Metal Wings”-style end-of-song breakdown.) Cardi’s verse, in a welcome turn from her last three years of straight mid, is actually pretty great, especially her line about how blogs from different countries lie in languages she can’t read. But while Lizzo is a big performer, here she’s mostly in her lower range, at least at the beginning. She picks up the slack briefly by promising a swinging guitar breakdown, but it only happens after the last lines of the chorus and only lasts for a few seconds. The rumors got to her, oh well. The Muses cosplay is great — can’t wait for their scene in the next live-action Hercules movie.

Aaron Bergstrom: What was J. Lo doing that was so important that we couldn’t go full Hustlers reunion on this? That’s more fun to focus on than the way capitalism sells you increasingly watered down, commodified versions of things you used to love. We’re still on the right side of the divide with Lizzo, but just barely, and I’m not optimistic about her trajectory.

Alex Clifton: “Rumors” gets a [10] for multiple reasons: it’s one of the most fun songs I’ve heard all year, Lizzo and Cardi sound great, and the brass in the chorus is such an energizing addition. But I’ll admit the score is mostly because I have not stopped thinking about “last time I got freaky the FCC sued me” for two weeks. Another case of a surefire summer hit released a little too late to properly count as one, but one I’m happy to dance to nonetheless. 

Reader average: [7] (2 votes)

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