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Why Lizzo Great: 2019 Artist Of The Year

2019. I’d understand if you spent the year in your bed curled up in the fetal position, shutting out the world, gorging on gluten. That sounds like a splendid idea, as the year was an endless barrage of horror. Mass shootings, human rights abuses, fires, forced family separations, suicide bombers, extreme weather, bald-faced racism, the US government keeping children in cages, wars, unscrupulous politicians, sexual assaults, and a Jonas Brothers reunion. It’s enough to push someone over the edge. Coupling all that with my personal issues of anxiety, diminishing self-confidence, uncertainty about my future, feelings of isolation and helplessness, and a desire to spend my days in my bed curled up in the fetal position gorging on gluten, and it’s clear I could use a therapist.

Lizzo is 100% that shrink. She told me “You know you’re a star, you can touch the sky. I know it’s hard but you have to try.” She advised me to “Boss up and change your life; you can have it all, no sacrifice.” She said “it’s time to focus on you.” She convinced me to “Keep pushing like ay-yi-yi.” I’ll admit I don’t know how ay-yi-yi pushes, though it sounded like good advice. “Go on, dust your shoulders off, keep it moving,” she told me at more than one session, and I did. I said to her “Dr. Lizzo, I envy you. You’re so smart and so cute!” You know what she said? You know what she said. “That’s cool, baby, so is you.” That’s how she rolls.

Lizzo made my 2019 infinitely better. I sing along with her songs and for those three or four minutes, my feelings of anxiety and low self-worth subside and I feel good as hell.

Years ago Chris Rock had a routine about how nobody likes who they are except fat black women. Said Chris a fat black woman doesn’t care what you think. She’s getting done up and going out on Friday night. That’s Lizzo, though it must be said that being a fat black woman doesn’t inherently make one self-confident. Not seeing people who look like you represented in ads or in the arts can make someone feel there is something wrong with them. For Lizzo, add to that being broke and living in her car. Add losing her father, who encouraged her flute playing and was extremely supportive of her musical pursuits, when she was 21. Add years of releasing music that mostly went unheard, and her struggles with depression are more understandable than the self-confident star with whom we’re now familiar. The realization that she’s not going to look like the women in ads and the advice from her producer to make music for herself and not the world at large helped flip her mindset. Lizzo has been and is on the road to self-love and wants all of us to be on that road. She wants people to love the person they see in the mirror. In a culture where people are jealous of others who have more “likes” or followers, where people get dragged for expressing an opinion that not everyone shares, Lizzo tells us that we are more than okay being who we are. As she said at this year’s MTV Awards, “It’s hard to love yourself in a world that doesn’t love you back, am I right? So I want to take this opportunity right now to just feel good as hell. Because you deserve to feel good as hell.”

If you’ve made it this far in 2019 (if you’ve made it this far in this blog post!) without being exposed to Lizzo (or having Lizzo expose herself to you), here’s a few things to know: 1) she’s a fat black woman, and none of those descriptors are negatives; 2) her album Cuz I Love You was released in April and peaked on the Billboard 200 at #4; 3) her single “Truth Hurts,” released in 2017, hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this past September; 4) her single “Good as Hell,” released in 2016, currently stands at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100; and 5) she’s my artist of the year, having spent a staggering 22 weeks at #1 on Glenn’s Ten, the only chart that really matters.

Other tidbits about Lizzo: She’s been playing the flute since sixth grade and went to the University of Houston to study classical music on a music scholarship; while she was living in Minneapolis earlier this decade, Prince invited her group GRRRL PRTY to perform at his Paisley Park compound and on his album Plectrumelectrum; she received eight Grammy Award nominations this year, more than any other artist; in 2014, Time magazine named her an artist to watch; in 2019, Time magazine named her Entertainer of the Year.

There is a Lizzo playlist at the end of this post. Check it out, though I should note that she sometimes uses a certain word that starts with “n” (not nectarine) and a certain word that starts with “b” (not broccolini).

I heard someone say that the only reason Lizzo is so successful is because of her size. Right. Society places so much pressure on women, particularly in entertainment, to become and stay heavy. That’s why the pop chart is full of plus-size women. Nectarine, please, the broccolini has talent! She can sing. She can write. She can rap. She can twerk. She can play the flute. She can twerk and play the flute at the same time. In your face, James Galway! On top of that, she’s charming. She’s intelligent. She’s funny. She’s my therapist. She’s my cheerleader. She’s my rabbi, my role model, and my best friend. She empowers me. I’ll just come out and say it – I’m proud to be a Lizbian.

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My Top 100 Songs of 2017

Without any comment, herewith is my list (and playlist) of my 100 favorite tracks of 2017.

Okay, one comment: I was a Johnny-come-lately regarding Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow,” so I’m saving that for my 2018 list.

1. On Hold – the xx
2. Black Beatles – Rae Sremmurd feat. Gucci Mane
3. Slide – Calvin Harris featuring Frank Ocean and Migos
4. Young, Dumb & Broke – Khalid
5. Mask Off – Future
6. Los Ageless – St. Vincent
7. The Story of O.J. – JAY:Z
8. Pills – St. Vincent
9. New York – St. Vincent
10. Everything Now – Arcade Fire
11. Praying – Kesha
12. Pure Comedy – Father John Misty
13. Passionfruit – Drake
14. Havana – Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug
15. Feels – Calvin Harris featuring Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean
16. Bad and Boujee – Migos feat. Lil Uzi Vert
17. HUMBLE. – Kendrick Lamar
18. Be the One – Dua Lipa
19. Love on the Brain – Rihanna
20. We the People… – A Tribe Called Quest
21. Green Light – Lorde
22. Candy May – Alex Cameron
23. To the Moon and Back – Fever Ray
24. Name for You – the Shins
25. Sign of the Times – Harry Styles
26. rockstar – Post Malone featuring 21 Savage
27. It’s a Shame – First Aid Kit
28. (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano – Sampha
29. Bank Account – 21 Savage
30. Hot Thoughts – Spoon
31. The Way You Used To Do – Queens of the Stone Age
32. Bad Liar – Selena Gomez
33. Chanel – Frank Ocean
34. Liger – Young Thug & Carnage
35. 4:44 – JAY:Z
36. High Ticket Attractions – The New Pornographers
37. Stranger’s Kiss – Alex Cameron with Angel Olsen
38. Tonite – LCD Soundsystem
39. Thinking of a Place – The War on Drugs
40. Over Everything – Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile
41. Ascension – Gorillaz featuring Vince Staples
42. All Night – Beyoncé
43. Little of Your Love – Haim
44. Waiting on a Song – Dan Auerbach
45. Accelerator – Paul White ft. Danny Brown
46. iSpy – Kyle featuring Lil Yachty
47. Shine on Me – Dan Auerbach
48. The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness – The National
49. No. 28 – Methyl Ethel
50. I Feel It Coming – the Weeknd feat. Daft Punk
51. Better Than Me – Blood Orange feat. Carly Rae Jepsen
52. Call the Police – LCD Soundsystem
53. Love Galore – SZA featuring Travi$ Scott
54. DNA. – Kendrick Lamar
55. No Plan – David Bowie
56. Holding On – The War on Drugs
57. Runnin’ Outta Luck – Alex Cameron
58. Amputation – Jesus and Mary Chain
59. Love – ILoveMakonnen featuring Rae Sremmurd
60. Malibu – Miley Cyrus
61. Want You Back – Haim
62. Carin at the Liquor Store – The National
63. Long Time – Blondie
64. Secrets – The Weeknd
65. Wyclef Jean – Young Thug
66. Slip Away – Perfume Genius
67. Bop N Keep It Dippin’ – Dizzee Rascal
68. XO Tour Llif3 – Lil Uzi Vert
69. Dis Generation – A Tribe Called Quest
70. Play the Field – Partner
71. PRBLMS – 6lack
72. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – DMX
73. Colors – Beck
74. BagBak – Vince Staples
75. I Think of You – Jeremih feat. Chris Brown
76. Perplexing Pegasus – Rae Sremmurd
77. Wreath – Perfume Genius
78. Swang – Rae Sremmurd
79. Shining – DJ Khaled feat. Beyoncé and Jay-Z
80. Say Something Loving – the xx
81. Dear Life – Beck
82. Heatstroke – Calvin Harris feat. Young Thug, Pharrell Williams & Ariana Grande
83. Zayn Malik – Swet Shop Boys
84. Give It Up – Angel Olsen
85. Sky Walker – Miguel featuring Travi$ Scott
86. Total Entertainment Forever – Father John Misty
87. Hallelujah Money – Gorillaz feat. Benjamin Clementine
88. Ballad of the Dying Man – Father John Misty
89. I’m Better – Missy Elliott featuring Lamb
90. Told You So – Miguel
91. Mad as Hell – U.S. Girls
92. LOYALTY. – Kendrick Lamar featuring Rihanna
93. Bam – JAY:Z featuring Damian Marley
94. I Dare You – the xx
95. Andromeda – Gorillaz featuring D.R.A.M.
96. Rage – Vic Mensa
97. Whiteout Conditions – The New Pornographers
98. Stick to Your Guns – Watsky feat. Julia Nunes
99. When I Was Young – MØ
100. Never – J.I.D.


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Hey, Big Boi

Winston + OutKast 002

In 2003 the two members of OutKast released solo albums packaged together as an OutKast double-CD. Big Boi’s album was Speakerboxxx and André 3000’s was The Love Below. The first single from Speakerboxxx was “The Way You Move,” which quickly rose to #2 on the pop charts, held back from the top spot by The Love Below’s “Hey Ya!” After eight weeks in the runner-up position, the Big Boi track moved to #1.

Today Tunes du Jour celebrates the 39th birthday of Big Boi.

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