What makes you believe Lizzo when she sings about love?
Did you notice the way Lizzo dampens I and makes you sound as important as love in Cuz I Love You? You noticed, we all noticed, but we don’t know we noticed.
It’s a choice where you put the stress in I love you. Stress tells your listener to listen. It says what you think is important.
Lizzo tells us she didn’t know she loved her man, till now. So love and you are the surprise combination for her. Now she knows, she wants to convince her man, so she stresses you not I. It’s not about her. It’s about love and the man.
Choices: think of Whitney Houston singing I Will Always Love You. Which word gets the most attention – I, you or love? It’s not the word you think, not always. Witney shifts the emotional weight as she sings:
Noddy Holder chooses to place the full force of his voice on love in Coz I Luv You:
Why does Noddy stress love more than I or you? Because the story of his song is that it’s the depth of his love that has surprised him. Not the identity of his lover. He’s not like Lizzo, suddenly finding himself in love with somebody he’d dismissed in the past. Noddy has a history and a possible future with his woman. Or so he says.
Lizzo is a wordsmith and a woman whose vocal control lets her skip through the matter-of-fact opening lines. She tells her story and relishes the round oh sound at the end of each line. It’s a masterstroke to choose before as the first oh sound. Bending before into such an unusually strong final oh shape warns us to take the oh sound seriously. Humans pay attention to unusual things. Lizzo chooses her words carefully and then sings them into shape so that we pay the right attention.
She leads us, baby step by baby step, oh by oh, to the line Sorry if my heart a little slow. And then soars into full-force, full-on love.
In the next verse, Lizzo skilfully bends rain, again, friend, man, am, plane, ashamed and name into rhyme. She fuses unexpected sounds together – and isn’t that the message of the song?
And all we have to do, once Lizzo has led us into the story of her song, is sit back and let her voice wash over us. She builds the power, ebbing and flowing until every last man is crying.
Lizzo’s a superb singer and we’re lucky to have her.
© Sing Better English 2020